What Do You Need?
When it comes to opting out of things, I’m not someone who typically feels a lot of FOMO. (As in, the Fear of Missing Out.) If anything, I’m more likely to experience crippling FODO: Fear of Disappointing Others.
(Is that a thing? It must be a thing.)
But even as someone who has a pretty good handle on her FOMO, there are definitely triggers that stir it up in me now and then. And every year around this time, as my Instagram feed starts filling up with snapshots of everyone’s brilliant and creative 100 Day Projects, and I start feeling FOMO-itchy.
Itchy because I love a good project.
Itchy because I want to contribute to (and feel included in) a global, communal movement.
Itchy because I know I should have a great, groundbreaking idea for a project of my own … but I just can’t find it.
If you’re not familiar, #The100DayProject is “a free global art project that anyone can participate in.” The project is in its fifth year, and is led by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. The idea is pretty straightforward: pick a creative thing that means something to you, commit to doing it for 100 days, and document your progress on Instagram.
Not surprisingly, people are brilliant, and the range of creative projects they’ve taken on is inspiring. I’ve seen everything from 100 Days of Beach Mandalas, to 100 Days of Painting My Dreams, to 100 Days of Sad Animal Facts (this one was a hilarious project from a few years ago, and while it’s disappeared, it does have its own Instagram account now. You’re welcome.)
All I want more than anything is to jump in and join the creative fun with a perfect, witty, brilliant idea of my own!
...but you know how this goes. The harder you search for brilliance, or the perfect answer, or a genius idea, the more empty-handed you feel.
The frustrating part is, I can feel the potential here. I can feel how the right project could be just what I need right now – it could be nourishing, invigorating, and restorative. It could help me grow in significant ways, or lead me to new epiphanies. It could nurture my creativity, help me find momentum on something I’m working toward, nudge me toward something that fuels me, help me build a meaningful habit…
So where’s my brilliant idea?
In my search for answers, I turned to 100-Day-Project-veteran-and-all-around-creative-genius Elise Cripe for wisdom. And not surprisingly, she'd already posted a video with some great advice, in the form of two questions: What do you want to get better at? And what do you need?
For me, that second question stirred up thoughts and feelings like a funnel cloud in my mind.
What do you need?
The thing about this question is that it’s so much bigger than the 100 Day Project. This question is an invitation to think – really think – about what you want more of in your life, and how you can create more of it.
What are you craving? Missing? Wishing for? Are there feelings you want more of? Things you wish you had more time for? Passions or projects you once loved, that somehow fizzled out of your life?
The thing is, we don’t have to be ‘unhappy’ or ‘miserable’ or ‘unfulfilled’ to have answers to these questions. And your answers aren’t necessarily indicators that you have a crisis to address, or something broken to fix. Instead, your answers may point you toward ways to enrich your life with more of what you love.
Is there a tiny daily habit or commitment that could help bring you just a little bit more of what you crave, want, or miss?
Remember: it doesn’t have to be big or elaborate to be effective – it’s the thought and intentionality behind our actions that makes the impact. And over time, those small-but-intentional actions and habits add up to a strong, generous, and fruitful relationship with ourselves.
Turning the Question Into Action
Whether or not you decide a 100 Day Project is for you, I’m a big believer that one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is a commitment to tiny-but-intentional actions, habits, and rituals that make us feel like ourselves, and feed us the things we’re hungry for.
So, start by asking yourself the simple question: What do you need?
Whether you have answers jumping out at you right away, or you can’t quite put your finger on them, see if you can just sit with the question.
Is it more play?
Another way to think about this is to ask: what feelings do you wish you felt more often? This is an exercise I come back to all the time, and putting pen to paper about this stuff constantly help me shape my habits and routines to bring me more of the feelings I want to feel.
I did this exercise just last night, actually – and after scribbling thoughts and ideas that filled up a few sheets of notebook paper, I think I’ve just about landed on an idea for my 100 Days Project that speaks to what I need in this season. I’m still deciding if it’s something I want to pursue, and what it would look like exactly. In any case, I’ll be sharing any progress I make over on Instagram, and I’d love if you’d join me!
And now, I’d love to hear from you:
Is the 100 Day Project something that speaks to you at all? Do you plan to participate, or have you started already?
What one tiny-but-intentional thing can you do for yourself this week, to bring yourself more of what you love, crave, or want to feel?