magic words of the week fft

How to Beat the First Time Blues

There’s magic in doing something for the first time… but it’s also kind of awful. 

  • We don’t know what we don’t know. 🤷‍♀️
  • It usually takes longer than we think it will. ⏳
  • We’re probably not very good at it yet (how could we be?) 🤦‍♂️
  • If there’s extra one-time setup involved, we’re doing that too 🪜

But if we can recognize we’re in an F***ing First Time (FFT) and label it with a name, suddenly we’re back in control of our narrative. 

I learned the word FFT from vulnerability researcher Brene Brown’s podcast in 2020. It’s helped me have more grace for myself ever since.

Brown suggests we start noticing our FFTs. If you’re in one, do the following:

  1. Normalize it. “Oh, this is exactly how new is supposed to feel. This is uncomfortable because brave is uncomfortable.”
  2. Put it in perspective. “This feeling is not permanent, and it doesn’t mean I suck at everything. It means I’m in the middle of an FFT around this one thing.”
  3. Reality check your expectations. “This is going to suck for a while. I’m not going to crush this right away.” 

I’m in an FFT right now. Writing and sending this email is an FFT for me — one of hundreds I’ve faced as I’ve launched my business in the past 14 months.

But I know it won’t feel this uncomfortable for long. I know I’ll get things set up and make mistakes and learn what I need to. I know I’m in a hatching process, pushing my way out of what was once comfortable and has now grown too small.  

Why am I telling you all this? Because marketing your business is full of FFTs, too. It can be uncomfortable to launch a blog, redo your website, or raise your prices. But as Brene says, “Normalizing discomfort, learning how to stay standing in the midst of feeling unsure and uncertain, that’s the foundation of courage.”

On the other side of the FFT portal is growth and opportunity. And it’s ok that it’s unpleasant in the meantime. Especially if we know how to name what’s going on.


This post was original sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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