It’s Been a While
It’s been a while, because I’m not as good as I want to be. In gaming, in connecting, and in creating things that are meaningful. I’m not nearly as good as I want to be, and I let it stop me. There’s tension that comes with not being good enough. It’s the great dichotomy. You aren’t good enough to produce good content, but you’ll never be good enough to if you don’t start. But if you start, then it means that you will be putting out some of the worst content in your career. Isn’t it interesting how that works?
I’ve always been a competitive person, believing that you aren’t truly great if you aren’t the best. I played cello in high school and agonized every day if I would make the wrong note, be a failure, and become undeserving to lead. I had to win, I had to be the best, I had to do more than those that came before. So I worked, I didn’t sleep, and I tore myself apart trying to create the unattainable.
The crazy thing, there’s 2 schools of thought. One, I had no idea how far from greatness I really was. On the other hand, I didn’t accept that doing, even when you aren’t great, is the only real way to get better. You can read, strategize, and plan, but if you aren’t doing, then you aren’t developing the skills necessary to get things done. You need both, the plan and the action. I’ve been trying to learn to code the past few years. I have free time, but I’m not trying to get better on code. I don’t just do things without a purpose, and so often I don’t have a reason to do things, so I just sit, not doing the things I don’t know how to do. But when I do actually start working on things, I get so frustrated I just don’t know how to do them, then I get discouraged, frustrated, and angry. Just angry.
I can be an angry person. Because I want to be great at things, I need to be the best, and I don’t think I can do things if i’m incompetent.
The funny thing is, I spent the last month planning, and replanning, and restructuring the way I put out this podcast, the plans to create fun sessions for you, how I’m going to do my Game Master Master Mind, and what goes into a good patreon. I planned so I wouldn’t suck so bad, but if I had just been okay with, if I just accept temperance, and buy into the incompetence that comes in pursuit of the great, then I would have grown much more, and been in a better place than I am now.
Tensions and Incompetence
I listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast with Seth Godin and he talked about tensions and incompetence. The hallmark of a great teacher is one that helps guide the student through the path of incompetence to the hill of competence. It’s so true. I love seeing that. It’s why I do this podcast. It’s why I’ve tutored people over the years. I love helping someone through frustration, and empower them to take that step into the dark, trusting, doing, planning, doing, and then getting it.
That light, that light in their eyes when it clicks, when they make it, and they get better. I want that for everyone.
You’re not as good as you want to be. That’s what I said in the title. It’s true. You know it. It nags at you.
I get it. I’m right there with you.
“What Saves a Man…”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said once,
“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.”
Don’t be resistant to change. You can have what you want. Go after what you want. It’s part of being an artist. You will work for your craft. You put in the time and you’ll see those changes.
I don’t have the solutions. I’m just a humble game master, speaking to you through the internet. I’ll be there with you on the journey, and if I can help you make the journey a little easier as you travel through the scary forests of less competence, then let’s do that.
Actions to Be Better
It’s not easy to start the path to get better. But you love this craft. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t love the process, if you didn’t love the game. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned. Maybe it’ll help you too.
One: Accept Where You’re At
Accept that you’re not as good as you want to be. Accept it, and accept who you are and where you are now. You make good games. You tell fun stories. You have fun at the table, and you’re not as good as you want. Lean into the tension and let it support you.
Two: Define What You Want
Get clear on what you want. Find a facet of your craft you want to develop. Find that goal out of your reach. Then, research, learn, and connect with those that can help you on your quest. Figure out where you’re going, then pull together the resources at the shops. Prepare yourself to quest out into the unknown so you’ll be ready.
Three: Go After What you Want
Go after what you want. Don’t feel embarrassed you want more, you want to explore the craft. Accept that you’ll look silly, you’ll feel dumb, and you’ll misstep more than you want as you go after that change you want. Try out new ideas, and when they flop, embrace the learnings from that teacher. Let them guide you to what works. Find help from others who have traveled the path. Just like in DND, you don’t go alone, but with a party that complements your strengths, supports you when you’re low, and cheers with your triumphs.
I Believe in You
I believe in you. I get it. I skipped how many weeks? Accept you can be better. Find your goal on the map and prepare for your quest. Then go after what you want, practice, lose HP, fail with your crew, teaching you, giving you the experience you need to be the person who reaches that goal.
The trick is to be okay with imperfection. Learn to stop chasing perfection and be okay with what is.
That’s easier said than done, right?
Sometimes it helps if you have permission. Here I am, giving you permission to be messy. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to enjoy imperfect games. You can still run great games, even if you aren’t where you want to be. Find joy in what is, and love the progression.
You play this game because you find joy. Don’t lose sight of the fun just because you aren’t where you want to be. Enjoy the journey of progression, step by step, and find your truth along the way.
Remember, if you ever need help, I’m here. If you need some help lowering that difficulty curve, feel free to reach out, and we’ll figure it out together.