There is no shame in starting small.


As a writer, the thought of putting my soul into a piece of work and no one caring is scarier than losing my wallet, keys, and cellphone in one sitting.

I don’t know why that is.

But I can guess it’s because I fear feeling small —  or insignificant.

Somehow, I want to grow from a nobody to a cult leader, overnight while no one is looking. I want money and raving fans without the pre-fame boos. I want it all, secretly knowing that it’s not at all coming.

Thoughts such as these have continually tripped up my writing and my progress. I waste far more time than I need to, focusing on where I am rather than where I’m going.

Maybe you’ve experienced the same?

A while ago I was having a conversation with a potential coaching client. He was hesitant about moving forward with his book because he had, what he felt, too little material to start with.

Now, let’s pause and think about this.

He didn’t want help writing his book because he didn’t have enough of his book finished.

His concern helped me realize the ridiculousness of our shame for small starts. It caused me to question some the shame surrounding creative life and business.

Why is monetary profit the only measuring stick for success (and worthiness)?

Why aren’t small, passion-filled businesses celebrated more?

Why is a creative practice often seen as irresponsible or a waste of time?

Why don’t we talk about the shame of starting small often enough?

We need to take the shame out of starting small.

I’ve seen with some of the writers and authors I coach, one of the biggest blocks they have when getting started is trying to go from 0 to 100. Too often, we focus on the destination rather than the climb, missing important moments of growth in the process.

What’s more valuable than the success is actually learning what it takes to sustain momentum and create consistent success. But to even get there, you need to be willing to start small. Putting in the work, night in and night out.

And that goes for just about any creative profession. We need to stop shaming those who begin first-time businesses, who take chances on their creativity and make small positive changes.

If you started going to the gym this week and hadn’t all year, you should celebrate that small win.

If you sold five of your self-published books, you need to acknowledge your momentum.

Repeat this like a mantra if you have to:

There is no shame in starting small.

There is no shame in starting small. 

There is no shame in starting small.

There is power in smallness if you recognize it.

The only person you require any approval from is yourself. So start being OK with starting small.

Start telling yourself that this is only the beginning and that you’re willing to do the work to move forward.

There is no law that says you must start with a huge production or 10K Instagram followers.

We all know we must start somewhere. Why not start without shame?

Photo by Ashley Van Dyke on Unsplash

I am an author, traveler, and lover of all plantains.