You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky
My philosophy here on this site is to provide tools to people sitting the bench rather than playing in the game. Someone once advised me “If you want to swim with the fish, you need get in the middle of the stream.” The point was that I was what was keeping myself from moving forward.
The best advice for anyone ready to follow their dream is to take IMPERFECT action.
We all have doubts and fears holding us back, such as:
- I’m not smart enough
- I’m too old
- I’m afraid (to fail, of making a fool out of myself, of going broke, of change, of <fill in the blank>)
- I don’t know what I need to do
- I lack motivation
Any one of these will guarantee you won’t achieve your dreams.
I’ll address each of these briefly, then add some ideas to help you take action today. Sound good?
I’M NOT SMART ENOUGH
Yes you are. (I’m tempted to just leave it at that). Okay, you may think this, and maybe even when you gain success this will creep up from time to time.
Consider this Image:
You have seen charts like this, but in this case, consider that it represents experience and knowledge. All of us are on this line somewhere. Some are very high, some are at the bottom, but you move upward the more you learn and grow.
You know that you have more knowledge and experience than others in various areas. Maybe at work, at a hobby etc. There is no threshold you need to reach. You only need to be higher up the line than someone else.
That is what makes you an “expert”. Find something you know even a little about, or learn just a little bit, and you can teach those that know less. Problem solved!
I’M TOO OLD
This is a variation of “its too late,” “I should have been a <doctor>,” “I missed the boat” etc. Baloney!
You may think that entrepreneurship is for college dropouts that create multi-billion dollar businesses. Not true. Most start in their 40’s. Even if you are older than that, take heart! Entrepreneurs over 50 tend to have higher success rates than those under 40. See the Kaufmann study for more information.
Okay, you Spring Chicken, get crakin!
We all are, and all entrepreneurs were and still are. You are not your fear. It doesn’t matter if you are afraid, only that you take action.
Think about what the worst thing is that could happen, in fact all things that can happen. The worst case scenario almost never happens. All other potential failures of fears that could come to pass are manageable.
Look at each of those fears and make a plan to deal with them. If you are afraid to speak in public, be very prepared and practice repeatedly. Start with one person you trust and work your way up. Just take action and you will get passed it.
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET STARTED
I didn’t either. It just takes some consideration, and there are many parts to “taking action” which I’ll get to later.
First to consider is whether lack of action really is rooted in fear. It was for me. Not feeling I was ready, or feeling like I didn’t know enough, or not knowing what it is I needed to be doing was all rooted in fear. It was an excuse.
If that’s not the case, you will have to determine what type of business or pursuit you want to follow. If you want to start a business, there are several options:
- Brick and mortar
- Freelancing (writing, CPA etc.)
- Blogging or Lifestyle Business (what this is)
- Developing a product (physical or software)
- Online business, such as a storefront etc.
- Ebay, Craigslist etc.
You need to identify what working environment you want. Do you want to work in an office, collaborating with others? Work from the beach in Bali from a laptop? Run a natural foods store, etc.
Think deep and if one seems to resonate, then you can research more within that category.
I LACK MOTIVATION
Fear. Consider it again. Fear comes in many forms, be sure you are getting to the root issue.
If its energy levels, then read my post “10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Energy“.This is a major issue for me, which is why I wrote a post on it. I have to stay on top of this or I go downhill fast.
If you have energy and the desire for change, the closer you get to defining what it is you want, being clear as to why you want it, and how much better life will be once you get it, motivation will begin to fade.
Accountability. Another word to give serious consideration to. Many (okay, when I say ‘many’, I’m probably referring to myself) people get started, but don’t follow through. They (I) give up after the fun of starting something new, because its not novel anymore.
One way you can add accountability is to tell a close friend what you are doing, such as “I am planning to publish an ebook in 30 days.” Just knowing you promised to do something really helps.
Joining a mastermind group, entrepreneurship group or even an online community can help you stay motivated, encourage you when you need it, help you when you have questions and help you along the way.
TAKE IMPERFECT ACTION
Im-perfect. If the first action you take is perfect, then you are doing something wrong. It doesn’t need to be, nor should it be perfect. Get something out into the world! By doing so you can test its effectiveness and get feedback which will help you refine in the future.
You are what you need to be and you have what it takes to start, right now. Do whatever you can to get started, no matter how small.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paul Coelho, The Alchemist.
Entrepreneurs and business people want others to be entrepreneurs and business people. People truly want to collaborate, teach, inspire, mentor, provide guidance etc. Don’t think of it as philanthropy, think in terms of who you want to associate; don’t you want to associate with people like you?
Small steps add up over time to big gains. Don’t hesitate. Remember that you can only see so far ahead on the journey, up to the next bend. Once you get to that first bend, you will see the next path ahead. If you have the ability to learn, you have the ability to follow your dreams.
Here is a list of very simple things you can do to get your creative juices flowing:
- Email someone you admire, or know that can answer a question related to your dreams
- Attend a meetup group
- Call someone you know who runs their own business and take them to coffee
- Start a WordPress blog and post an entry in the subject you are interested in
- Take an online course in a subject you may want to pursue
- Make a phonecall to someone in the field you are interested in and take them to coffee
- Join a Facebook group in a subject you are interested in, and interact with that community
I think you get the point, it doesn’t need to be earth moving, just moving.
If you want further tips, read my post on Following Your Passion.