How to Scale Your Personal Projects and Mountains

We’ve heard the story a million times. “I think I can. I think I can.” The little train huffed and puffed his way up the hill.

Even as an adult, I relate to the little train’s struggle. Being an introspective introvert, I spend most of the day in my brain, processing, strategizing and fitting together the pieces of my life. If I’m not careful, I start to resent the reality of interruptions and yet another load of laundry (it’s only 10 a.m. and we’re three outfits in). Since becoming a mom, adjusting expectations has become a daily (oh wait, hourly) reality.

I wish I could tell you I’m like the little train, faithfully plugging along until I succeed. More often than I’d like to admit, I am the little train no one wrote a story about. The little train who decided that huffing up the hill was too much d#$@ work. Stopping, the little train slithered to the bottom of the hill where it glared at the other little train’s butt.

It’s hard to embrace the journey. 

I’ve been slowly working to change my language and thoughts. I want to move away from, “Ugh, this is hard. I don’t think I can do this because I don’t know… or don’t have…”

I want to move towards, “Ugh, this is hard. Where can I learn to do this? Who can I ask for help?”

This is a radical shift from aiming at a specific destination to becoming a life long learner.

A few pointers I’ve come up with to remind myself:

  • I will not be intimidated by what I do not know.
  • I will continue learning and moving forward.
  • My dreams are worth investing in.
  • I can find a book, Youtube video, blog or person to teach me about this.
  • I don’t have to know it all right now.
  • I will figure this out, even if it takes time.
  • I don’t need to be an expert to learn, grow and move forward.

The more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know. 

  • There is nothing new or interesting about my fear and insecurity. Even the people I most admire have it.
  • I will not let my fears keep me from learning and executing my next steps.
  • I will schedule and show up to write.
  • My desired results do not dictate or have the final word on my success. Whether I achieve the desired results or not, I will give my best and move forward with my life, work and art.

It’s been freeing just to re-type these here. I hope you find encouragement.

I struggle to let go of the constant measuring, comparing and hyper focus on success, but it’s poison and robs us and our relationships of joy.

Becoming a life-long learner brings freedom.

As we admit to not knowing, we open ourselves to receiving that which we seek. 


If I never admit my lack, I am hiding and covering the hole that could otherwise be filled.

There are so many resources out there, and many of them free (think google and YouTube to start). I also enjoy Udemy where you can purchase courses on various topics (they have great sales from time to time as well).

I leave you with two quotes from one of my favorite book, The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, on learning.

“Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life 


“He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, for that is what he will know.”

Annie Dillard, The Writing Life 


What have you been learning?

It’s always a joy to hear from you,



  • Lindsay Reph

    February 24, 2016

    Great encouragement today. Thanks, Deanne! I’m (finally) finishing my book and so much of what you shared applies to that process. I get so overwhelmed, often, but these reminders will help me as I complete the task!

  • dwelsh

    February 25, 2016

    Lindsay, so excited for you as you near the end of the process! Keep me updated!
    Sigh yes I feel like I learn and relearn so many of these things 😀

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