Monday, April 26, 2010

How to Start

After an hour of deliberation, I couldn’t come up with a clever way to start this blog post.

So, I'm just going to start.

Hope these seven ideas light a fire under your ass and inspire you to start whatever you've been thinking about starting.

1. Poll your past. Think about the last five things you started. From relationships to art projects to work habits to fitness goals. Write the list down. Then, backtrack. Ask yourself three questions:

*How long did it take you finally start?
*What barriers stalled your eventual execution?
*And what actions, specifically, did you take to overcome those obstacles?

When you’re done, step back and look for repeatable patterns based on your learning and personality style. This will provide a framework for future starts. How are you learning from past starting victories?

2. Engage small starts. If you’re at a loss for what to do first, think about three things: What can you do as a beginning? What small part of this could you start doing right now? And what one step could you take – today – to start moving toward to your ideal future?

By achieving small victories first, you create a position of yes. This establishes a proven track record of initiative. Even if it only exists in your mind. Then, that mental state equips you to (eventually) to start something big when the time cones.

Remember: Even if you don’t take a shred of action by asking these questions, your awareness will still increase. And awareness is the gateway to mastery. What small start will you execute before lunch today?

3. Quit something average. That’s the only way to create the space to execute something remarkable. The cool part is, once you stop investing your time, energy and money in the Mutual Fund of Inconsequentiality – by which I mean, “television” – you can redirect those efforts into something that matters.

It’s like my friend Jason once told me, “Sometimes you have to say no to the good to make room for the best.” That’s your goal: Never quit quitting. What could you stop doing today that would help you start something tomorrow?

4. The need for perfection is keeping you from starting. The voice of perfection is piercing and demanding. Unfortunately, perfectionism is nothing but procrastination in disguise.

Nothing by a tired excuse assembled by your ego to prevent execution.

Nothing but a trap set by your neurotic compulsions as feeble effort to prohibit progress.

Nothing but a campaign against creativity, waged by the authoritative voices in your head.

My suggestion: Heighten your tolerance of ambiguity. Exert your flawed humanity and become the biggest imperfectionist you know. And seek progress, not perfection. After all, the word “start” comes from the Old English term, stiertan, which means, “a sudden movement.”

Doesn’t say anything about being perfect, or even good. Just sudden. What are you assuming that is stopping you?

5. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. The most common excuse for not starting something is ignorance. “But I don’t know what I’m doing!” you cry. What’s your point? Since when is knowledge a prerequisite for execution?

My suggestion: Check inside first. Instead of focusing on how little you know about something; turn inward and focus on how important it is to do that something. You’ll find that “Why?” trumps “How?” every time.

Don’t worry: Confusion is healthy. And “How?” comes eventually. For now, put boot to ass and touch the center of your true intention. How much profit have you squandered because you’re at war with HOW when you should be in love with WHY?

6. Surround yourself with starters. Bikram Yoga is my religion. Literally. The word “religion” comes from the Latin term religio, which means, “to link back.” So, religion is the one thing in your life that every other thing in your life links back to. Regardless of what you believe, or, even if you don’t believe. Everybody’s got something.

Anyway, when I started practicing on January 6th, 2008, I was a beginner in every sense of the word: Never done it, never wanted to do it and never thought I’d actually be doing it. Especially since I heard the classes were ninety minutes in a 105° room.

I shared those exact words with my instructor Rebbecca the first time I walked into the studio. She smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s what I said thirteen years ago.”

And now, here I am, practicing four days a week. Why? Because I initially surrounded myself with veteran starters. What about you? Are you hanging with people who move? Or people who watch Jersey Shores?

Remember: Life’s too short to surround yourself with people don’t challenge and inspire you. Who do you need to delete from your life?

7. Document as you develop. When I built NametagTV in 2006, I started from scratch. I knew nothing about shooting or editing. Nothing about setting up a multimedia studio. And nothing about leveraging video to add value to my clients and grow my business.

Which was fine. Because what I did know was that I had a cool, profitable idea that made me want to get out of bed an hour earlier. So, I started anyway, with the knowledge that it would take 12-18 months to overcome my learning curve.

Which I did. More importantly, which I documented. Everything I learned, everything I tried and everything I screwed up, I wrote down. That way, I could combine learning and doing.

Here are three more questions you can ask yourself to do the same:

*What did I (just) learn from this experience?
*What happened to me during this experience?
*What fundamental principles might be at work here?

Your challenge is to objectively step out of what you’re doing and look at your start-up situation from a different plane of consciousness. This turns the learning/doing process into a self-feeding, self-repeating cycle.

Remember: We learn not from our experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences – PLUS – consistent documentation thereof. What did you learn yesterday?

FINAL THOUGHT: Just stop waiting.

Stop waiting for permission.
Stop waiting until you’re ready.
Stop waiting until you know what you’re doing.

Otherwise you’ll keep waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

And then, before you know it, it will be too late.

Instead, I challenge you to plunge immediately into action.

Don’t take the guided tour and stall - go get a guest past and start.

Whatever it is. Just start.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
If everything you’ve done up until now is just the beginning, what’s next?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "6 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who's quoting YOU?

Check out Scott's Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

www.stuffscottsaid.com.