My first kiss

My first kiss was terrible.

I was a late bloomer: in the 10th grade. Earlier that day we’d arranged to meet by the bus stop. I’d never kissed a girl on the lips before. I was nervous as hell. I walked to our meeting place; she was waiting for me. She closed her eyes. I closed mine. We didn’t touch lips as much as our faces sort of mushed together. She let out a nervous laugh (not the response I was looking for), and went and caught her bus.

And that was it. That was my first.

But something changed. Walking away, I felt strangely empowered. It felt like the biggest hurdle was behind me. Sometimes you just need to get that first one out of the way. After that, you’re no longer inexperienced… you’ve now had one experience. And now you can build on that experience with new ones.

Get the first one done. Get it out of the way.

It’s the same for so many things: your first blog post, your first software program, your first website, your first podcast, your first product. It’s likely they won’t be great. Who cares! It’s just your first time. Just put it out: get over that initial hump.

All of your favourite bloggers, coders, designers, and product people had a “first time”. Go back into their archives and look at their first attempts. They’ll seem almost silly compared to their current work. But that’s the point. The reason they got better is they just started.

When Kyle and I recorded our first podcast, it was just us talking over Skype with iPhone headsets. The quality was terrible. We didn’t know what we were going to talk about, but we just did it.

Me: Here were are on a Skype call.
Kyle: First step, complete!

First step, complete. If you’re starting something new, don’t work on it for years before releasing it. Release a small, tiny, embarrassing version first.

If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh didn’t start learning to draw until he was 27. At the beginning, he struggled. Look at the progression between these two images:

Learning to draw with Vincent Van Gogh

Cheers,
Justin Jackson
@mijustin

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Published on October 2, 2013