You don’t have to have everything figured out in advance. Small steps eventually lead to conquering enormous mountains.
How many excuses do you think there are for not starting a business, or launching a new venture or initiative?
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this number may be one of those ad infinitum situations. Excuses are easy to come by, but excuses don’t build dream companies, nor do they create change in anyone’s life. So, if there is some idea that has been nagging at you, some creative idea you want to explore or a new business that is fueling you with a passion, today may be the day to flip the switch and start turning your dream into reality.
Whoa. I hear those voices in your head and that cacophony of reasons why you can’t do that thing you really want to do just hit me hard.
“But I don’t know how.”
“I’m not sure how to get started.”
“I don’t know if there is a market.”
“I’m not experienced enough.”
“Someone else is already doing this (bigger, better, etc.)…”
What if I fail?
A million phrases like these prevent the majority of people from ever starting anything, but I’m sure that we can also agree that anything that currently exists was started from nothing. How many startups began in garages, coffee shops, bedrooms?
How many people just got on with it and figured it out?
See, I believe that it is not necessary to have every step of your journey mapped in advance. In fact, I think that knowing all those steps up front is practically impossible. Sure, you can plan and strategize, but you’re never going to be able to accurately predict every detail of your journey, and believe me, even if you could do that it wouldn’t be wise.
If you really knew up front how everything was going to play out, where would be the room for spontaneity, for miraculous serendipities and coincidences, for things to turn out far better than you were even imagining?
I think that, rather than waiting until you think you have the “how” all figured out, that a better strategy is just to start. Start by figuring out what success looks like – what your vision is, and decide that “this or something better” is what you’re going to create.
Then the fun begins and it’s just a matter of taking little steps towards your goals. Figure out small “bite size” things that you can do to support your dream on a daily basis. You might call someone up to ask advice, or put up a simple website. You might send out ten emails and follow up with calls. You might do a free talk or offer a class to your community. Maybe you start a blog or just start talking about your new venture and watch who starts showing up to support you. When you start to see the journey as the fun part you begin to shift your whole attitude. Instead of focusing on how far you are from the top of the mountain and how many thousands of steps it’s going to take to get there, you begin to see the whole trek as an adventure of epic proportions, and rather than dreading the start you begin looking forward to whatever lies before you.
This, my friend, is how great adventures begin and how great businesses are born – with an inspired idea and a determination to make it work. But please, whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy the journey and to stay open to new opportunities along the way. You’ll be amazed at what starts to show up.
Good luck and bon voyage!
Elin Barton is a graduate of Cornell University (ALS ’91) and the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program. She enjoys speaking engagements and is finishing her first book, Ready, Set, Grit, which is due out in the fall of 2017. Elin is the CEO of White Knight Productions, Inc., a marketing and video production firm, and she also provides business training and coaching to entrepreneurs and corporate clients. Find links to Elin’s social media, her weekly podcast series and more at elinbarton.com.