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Starting a project is the easy part. It’s exciting.

Finishing a project offers a sense of relief, fulfillment, and accomplishment.

And the first time you make a sale, you will be hit with an unexplainable feeling. It’s like gratification, humility, and anticipation all rolled into one. And it’s positively addicting. It will make you want to do it all over again.

It’s what happens in between that’s hard.

I’ve called it the “hard middle” for years. It’s possible I stole that from somewhere.

Once the “honeymoon phase” is over, the real work begins.

Some days, you will wake up tired, uninspired, or sick.

You may lose sight of why you were so excited about the project to begin with and lose enthusiasm for it.

You may even start to experience some personal or familial challenges – relational, financial, or physical.

In my experience, this happens like clockwork any time you’ve made a big commitment to yourself (and your collaborators or team).

And just because you know something’s coming doesn’t always make it any easier. You will be presented with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

There will always be that “make it or break it” moment. And you will find yourself at a crossroads. You’ll be tempted to take the exit.

This is just the universe testing you, of course. But when you’re down in the valley, quitting starts to look like a better option than it ever did.

What is easy to forget in those moments is that this is where growth happens.

When things are great, there is no reason to grow, so we’ll often put it off.

But when we lose our sense of certainty, trite inspirational quotes suddenly appear as though an oasis amid an expansive desert. They water our soul.

Make no mistake – we can always join the masses who took the exit. That is always an option. But if finishing things were easy to do, everyone would be a finisher. Everyone would have a trophy on display.

If finishing things were easy to do, everyone would be a finisher. Everyone would have a trophy on display. Click To Tweet

You separate yourself by showing up and doing the work, even when you don’t feel like it. And there’s a sense of self-satisfaction that comes from consistency that no trophy can ever replace.

Maybe you won’t do your best work on those days when the desert seems to stretch out forever. But even if all it does is nudge you an inch closer to the finish line waiting for you miles away, you can at least say you did what many are unwilling to do. You kept going when you didn’t feel like you could.

Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.

The Renegade Musician

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