Have you seen that show Fixer Upper?
It's the one where HGTV darlings Chip & Joanna Gaines help people buy a "fixer upper" home and then do the design and reno to transform it into a dream home. The end of the episode always features a big reveal where you see the before and after of the house exterior. It's dramatic and exciting to see the changes happen so quickly. (Almost) instant gratification. That's part of what makes it good T.V.
Here's what they don't show:
The hundreds of people on the production team and crew that it takes to flip a house in such a short period of time.
The disappointments the families have after they move in and discover that they don't actually need a home study; they need more space for the kids to play.
The fact that some participants don't even live in the house afterwards! They sell to make a profit.
And the part at the beginning where they show the people three properties to choose from? Totally staged. You have to already have a home under contract to be considered for the show.
They tell a good story, but it's not the full story.
Let me tell you, no one would tune in to watch the story of how I bought my house because it was an effing stressfest that nobody would want to watch.
I think when we look around at other people and inevitably compare ourselves, we see the as-made-for-television version of the story and then think all of our bumps and bruises must mean that we're doing it wrong.
No, we're just doing real life. There's no professional designer in charge, no crew, no outside financing. There's rarely a satisfying big reveal or instant gratification when it comes to transformation.
So if your career doesn't have the equivalent of shiplap and a perfectly coordinated Benjamin Moore color palette yet, that's ok. Instead of trying to renovate the whole thing at once, pick something small to work on and do that. Then pick something else. And then the next thing. This is a project you can handle; it's just not going to make good T.V.