Scared to start? Just show up

Alex de Panama
3 min readSep 22, 2021


With creating, for many people, the hardest part is getting started.

The ironic part of this is that the thing you want to create is part of your passion. You love making music, writing, or making videos. Yet, you freeze at the thought of beginning the process. We tell ourselves it’s not worth it and continue to stare at our phone screen. Why is that?

One of the main reasons we find it so difficult to start (especially if you’re new to your hobby or craft) is that we convince ourselves that whatever we end up making will be bad. Two hours spent putting pen to paper and you compare yourself to greater, well-established writers. What a waste of time that was, right?


Nobody becomes an expert at what they do overnight. Nobody magically develops their craft with a click of a finger. Nobody lucks out and gets blessed with “natural talent”.

The secret to starting and realising your potential is to show up.

Not only that, but showing up and caring a little less about the result.

You have high expectations. That’s great; they will serve you well. But those high expectations are holding you back from even getting on that ladder and beginning the climb to success. You will come to hate what you do if you continue this way.

The key to getting started is low stakes and low expectations. To get started, you simply need to just be with the hobby you love.

What this looks like

Set yourself a timer. 10–20 minutes is fine.

Take that time to explore your craft. Expect nothing; don’t go into it assuming you’ll write the next big thing or create something that will change the world.


If you’re writing, this means, for whatever time you set, you write. Non-stop. It doesn’t matter what you write: thoughts, feelings, a manifesto. If you’re a musician, play. Chords, singular notes. Hell, just strike a note and listen to it ring out.

What’s important is that you show up. That’s the expectation. Nothing more. If the timer ends and you have nothing to show for it, that’s fine. You showed up.

You are already doing better than 99% of others like you.

Why Showing Up Matters

Simply existing with your passion for a little time each day develops the habit. If the issue is getting started, you need to make it as attractive as possible. Going into it, thinking, “I expect nothing except to write something “ lowers the stakes. It lowers the risk of failure, and fear of failure holds us back.

Anyone can show up. Even you.

Showing up is the first step toward something greater. It would surprise you at how many people give up before they’ve even started.

When you want to spend time with friends, you make a rough plan of where and when it’ll happen. Other than that, it’s quite open. Imagine if, when organising this meet up, you expect that you’ll achieve X, or do Y, or speak about Z.

The expectations rise and the inclination to even show up will drop. Nobody wants that pressure in a social situation. Why do we place it on ourselves with self-development?

These low stakes are key to building and becoming better at what you love. You will never improve if you expect perfection every time. Your relationship with your hobby is like any other; it starts by simply spending time together and finding out what works for you.

Start small. Aim high later.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Originally published at on September 22, 2021.



Alex de Panama

An ex-primary school teacher on a journey of career fulfilment and self discovery.