Just beginning a project is often the most difficult part. Or perhaps the best. There is something so incredible alluring and completely daunting about a blank slate. The past no longer plays a part, and a new chance presents itself. This next step has to come from somewhere new, somewhere deeper, somewhere untouched if it is to be honest.
But how to kickstart yourself into action?
1. Dive in. One can only plan for so long before you realize that the real reason you’re still in “planning phases” is because you’re a little wary of the leap. Small actions add up quickly. Do something every day to help you along your way.
2. Prepare yourself for success rather than begin to bolster yourself against the sting of failure. Failure’s such a misleading term anyway. All the times I have grown the most in my life have resulted from what could easily have been dubbed a “failure.” And this is because failures bruise the ego. If an experience embarrassed us in some way, we are more likely to retain the lesson. The embarrassment spurs us to be hyperaware of all that happened and we rifle through the past for all of our missteps. We glean all that we can from the process so that we may never tread down the same path only to repeat the mistake in our future. So no need to fear failure – use it to push you towards your goal.
3. Reach out to others. If you need help, don’t remain silent – most people are not mind-readers. They will need to hear that you are looking for support before they offer it willingly.
4. If you don’t know how to do something, ask. It does no good to be proud when it comes to things we have yet to learn. Not one single person on this earth knows everything, so don’t pretend like you do. Look for ways to expand your knowledge every day.
5. Pull from everywhere, let anything inspire you. Who is to say what will stop you in your tracks and motivate you? A forest one day, an old CD from your childhood the next. Do not censor the influx of images and influences around you. If Wagner moves you, great. If the Teletubbies do, good on’ ya. Just make it work.
6. Stop waiting for a perfect time. There is no such thing as the “perfect time.” There will always be other activities or events to keep you from the work. Stop stalling, start doing.
What is it that stops us from doing exactly what we want to in life? Most of it can be chalked up to some sort of fear – of failure, of reproach, of uncertainty. Here’s a quick list to help determine if that big risk of yours is worth trying.
1. You can’t stop thinking about it. The idea pervades your thoughts. You smile every time it crosses your mind. You’ve already worked out the best-possible scenario in your head, and you think you have the tools to make it work.
2. You’re unhappy with the status quo. Remember that little voice in your head? The one that reminds you when you’re feeling down and that now is the time to do something about it? Yeah, listen this time.
3. You’re willing to put in the work. No doubt what you’ve been dreaming about will require you to put in some effort. But that’s what has made it so elusive thus far right? It’s up to you to decide whether you want to live a life where you look back and say “I’m so glad I tried that” or one where you admit “I really wish I had done that.”
4. You’re clinging to an illusion of safety. You’ve created a false cocoon of security in a world where no such thing actually exists. “But this way I don’t get hurt!” you convince yourself. Well, newsflash: you hurt yourself more by holding yourself back than by mustering up the courage to change. Do what you actually want to do. Be who you actually want to be.
5. You want to. Passion is the number one ingredient in making a dream a reality. And ultimately the decision is yours, and yours alone. If you’re taking the leap solely for the reason that it will impress someone else, reevaluate.
6. You attempted to before but it didn’t work out. As a baby, did you give up on walking after the first few times resulted in a happy marriage of your forehead and the hardwood floor? Nope. You pushed yourself and tried again. Somewhere along the line, in our efforts to grow up and act like adults, we learn to stop “trying again”. We rid ourselves of the spirit that allows us to tackle anything in favor of one that promotes mental barriers and excuses. Chances are you learned something from that failed attempt. Time to put those lessons to good use.
7. It completely terrifies you. Good. You will grow 1 million times over if you look that fear in the face and mutter through gritted teeth: “bring it on.” Who knows, you may surprise yourself. And what beauty there is in such surprises.