A Life of Doubt

My husband always jokes that I have an outsized ego for my petite 5’1″ stature. I clearly have a bit of a Napolean complex.

It was this completely unwarranted confidence that allowed me to be crazy enough to quit my corporate job and pursue something creative. However, over the last two years, I’ve never been filled with such doubt. Creative work is incredibly hard even if you have the knack and taste for it. It never feels finished. It never feels good enough. And everyday you wonder, “Am I creating work that matters?”

So what can you do about all this doubt? The video below spoke to all the emotions I feel on a daily basis, and provided some comfort and advice. It’s well worth a watch for any aspiring creator or maker. If you’re a This American Life fan like I am, the familiar voice of Ira Glass will provide additional comfort.

My days are still filled with doubt and disappointment but they are also filled with constant creation, and the more I create, the less room there is for doubt. I hope the same goes for you.

Top 12 Reasons Launching a Product is Like Having a Baby

So, I’ve never given birth to a baby, but over the last 9 months of trying to bring this meal planning product to life, there were many moments when I wondered, “Do I have a child or a product?” I’m sure every new mom or new entrepreneur has had these moments. And for those that have done both, you all are amazing beyond words.

  1. You fantasize about what it’ll be like when it grows up
    I am constantly daydreaming that this product will grow up to do real good for the world
  2. You make sacrifices for it
    I’ve realized I just can’t do all the things I used to do. I’ve had to miss out on a lot and made many lifestyle changes so this can all work.
  3. You read books and blogs to get ready
    What are the best development methods? What are the best products for it? I’ve realized the more I read, the more confused I get, and the best method is to just go with my intuition.
  4. You’ll get a lot of unsolicited opinions on how to do it best
    But I always remind myself, only I know what’s best for my baby, and I can never lose sight of that.
  5. Sleep deprivation comes with the territory
    I am someone that needs 8 hours of sleep but if the life of your product means losing a few hours, those 8 hours don’t feel that necessary anymore. However, this lack of sleep does make me want to bawl my eyes out over anything and everything.
  6. You must push!
    When crunch time came and I had to get my hands dirty in our code, I was incredibly scared of pushing that code. Here’s a conversation that went down between my developer and me:

    Jen: Jess, you need to push!
    Jess: What if I poop all over the table?
    Jen: I just won’t tell you that it happened, and I’ll clean it up and pretend it never happened

    I imagine this is what also happens in the delivery room, no?

  7. Your body reacts in weird ways
    Weird pains. Swelling. Abnormal sweating. Discomfort. Inability to sleep. Check, check, check, check, and check.
  8. The birth is only the beginning
    I keep saying, I just need to get to the due date and then I can ease up. That is clearly so, so not what’s going to happen
  9. You’re afraid you’ll break it
    It seems so fragile, and I was so scared of breaking it. I was new to coding, and there were so many times that I felt that I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily this baby is resilient to a lot of my idiocy
  10. You can’t stop staring at it
    I keep looking at it and am completely in awe that I made this
  11. In the meltdown moments, you ask, “Why did I want to do this again?”
    I gave up grooming, exercise, sleep, and my generally awesome, easy, and cushy life so I can deal with this crap?
  12. Because it is your baby
    I have not created a real live baby, but for now this product is my baby. I’ve put a lot of my hopes and dreams into it and have loved it so much, even way before it was born.

See what my baby looks like