Last year I did something I didn’t ever think I’d actually manage to do – I introduced not one, but two paid-for products to the world.

Working towards building a sustainable income from my creative pursuits is something I’ve dreamed of doing for years and, finally, I’m able to say I’m beginning to make those steps.

But the process of actually getting those products out into the world? Of going from the seed of an idea to fully-grown tree? It was tough as heck.

I had ideas I was passionate about. I knew they’d be a great fit for the wonderful humans in my online community. But as I began the process of working on them, I realised that the more work I did, the further away I found myself from actually releasing anything.

Each time I sat down at my laptop, I’d come away with something bigger on my hands than I’d had before.

When I took a step back, I found that, instead of releasing the downloadable workbook that I’d had in mind originally, I was now attempting to release a far more complicated being.

What had begun as a simple exercise to test the water and see whether workbooks like this were something useful for my community had turned into workshops, mentoring and live videos with multiple price points and a subconcious caveat that if I didn’t make upwards of five-figures the whole thing had been a failure.

I’d taken something small that I cared about deeply and had managed to overcomplicate it almost beyond recognition.

But I know I’m not alone in doing this. We humans have a wonderful tendency to overcomplicate things and overwhelm ourselves. We like to take something simple and add bells and whistles until all of a sudden we have a mammoth task on our hands.

It’s a surreptitious form of self-sabotage, I think. Make this so big and make the markers of success so unachievable that you may as well not begin.

Which, of course, leads to overwhelm, procrastination (hello, old friend) and inertia. It feels too big, so we distract ourselves and, gradually, we come to a stop.

Getting started again from that place of inertia is a tough task. It can feel like trying to pull a steam train along using just a rope and your own brute (or not) strength (mine is not).

But I’ve found that there is a simple shift that can help you find your way out from that place of stuckness and overwhelm. Something that will begin to help clear the air and serve to remind you why you began in the first place.

Ask yourself: “What would I be doing if this were simple?”.

It’s a simple and seemingly innocuous question but stick with it. Maybe your first reaction is that of course it isn’t simple. Or that there is too much riding on this for it to be simple.

Perhaps, though, your interest is piqued, too. Stick with it.

What would you be doing if this were simple?

It’s a question that asks you to begin breaking things down into what is important and essential.

If this project was a breeze to tackle, how would it look? What is the bare minimum you need to make this work? Which parts of this are truly important? Which parts define what this project is meant to be?

But why do this at all? Surely it means you’ll do a half arsed job of it, put something out into the world that’s only mediocre instead of the polished gem you know it can be.

Well, that’s possible, for sure. But this exercise allows you to begin clearing your path a little, working through that overwhelm. It is so unbelievably easy to focus on all of the extras, all of the bonus items that we’ve decided need to be a part of this, that you end up not moving forwards at all.

This starts the wheels turning. It clears your head, holds on to what is important and allows you to begin making progress again.

Because usually, once you’re moving, keeping up that gentle momentum means that not only will you actually get the work done, you’ll have freed up energy and space to add in some of those bonus items you most loved, too. You weren’t saying “no” to them. You were simply saying “not now”.

Once that uncomplicated version is achieved, everything else you do is a bonus.

More importantly, it actually gets done. It gets your work out of the door and into the hands of the people who need it most.

And what is more important than that?

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