Even if your natural tendency is to jump into a new project feet first, when it comes to launching something important to you the seemingly high risk of failure can get in the way of getting started.
The number one barrier that I observe as an accountability partner is immobilization. “I’m not ready.” This is especially true of launching your own business or starting a new career. If you have a dream that’s either permanently “in process” or logged under the category of “someday,” what is holding you back? Here are five steps to shift you into first gear:
1) Answer the following, honestly and thoughtfully:
- Why is it important to you?
- What would you life be like if you succeeded?
- What are you missing out on right now without it?
2) Find a quiet place and imagine yourself succeeding at your goal. Picture every detail, from the weather to the people around you to how you feel in that moment. I find it easier to visualize success in the early morning before I get out of bed. My mind still seems to be in a naturally imaginative state.
3) Take a blank sheet of a paper and, without judgment, write down the worst case scenario should you put your plans into action and try. Will your life be over? If yes, then you might be justified in your paralyzing fear. If no, ask whether you are willing to take the risk of failing.
4) Remind yourself that this first action is just an experiment. If you are trying to launch a new business, hold a free seminar at the local library to share your knowledge on a relevant topic. If you want to write a book, lock yourself in the bathroom until the first chapter is drafted. Keep it simple and go into it with the mindset of learning from your initial mistakes so that you can actually rework your plan with new information.
5) If all else fails, and you truly want to take action, put yourself in a position where you must. If you are living in mom and dad’s basement, inform them you are moving out in one month. Take a crisp $100 bill out of your account and give it to a mentor you trust in a stamped envelope addressed to a charity you can’t stand. The agreement is that they will drop it in the mail on the 1st if you haven’t done XY and Z. Give your best friend your television until the task is completed. Create discomfort.
If you’ve been planning and scheming on how to start for more than a month, you are at risk of stagnation. Just start. Remember, as Chester Barnard, a businessman and pioneering management theorist stated, “To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been.” What will you do to get started today?