Mark Twain says it this way, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Getting started is probably the most difficult task of them all. We know what we want to do, we can see where we want to go, but we don’t necessarily know how to start. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top three must-haves in starting your goal, business idea, or task at hand. Let’s get started.
1. Have a plan.
Of course, I was going to say that. If there is no plan, there is no map. When the map isn’t in front of our faces, we won’t know what direction we’re going in. We could be going in circles for all we know…which has happened to me. In fact, I was going so fast around the circle that I actually thought I was going somewhere.
Take things one step at a time. The first step is the write everything down. I know all these ideas have been in your head and you may think that is enough, but get it down on paper. For some of us, this might even be scary. “What if it doesn’t look as good on paper as it does in my head?” This might be true for starters. But keep working on it. Draw pictures, use details, it can be hard to transform information from our brains to the paper. But at least we can see it now. When it is down on paper, your idea becomes real. Now that’s really scary. But if you really want this to happen, it starts with paper and a pencil.
2. Get organized
The next step is to take all those things you wrote down and organize them in categories or to-dos. I personally wouldn’t do this on the same day as step one. You just puked out your idea on paper, if that was hard, let it sit there overnight and start step two the next day. One exception to this rule is if you are on a roll and are ready to break it down, then go for it.
Organizing your ideas, the steps you need to take, the research that needs to happen, the tools you need to acquire is critical to your success. Think of anything and everything you think you need to make this dream happen. You won’t know if all, but you need someplace to start.
Lastly, break down these tasks into doable steps. I know you’re going to want to go fast, but there is no sense in going fast if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Step by step. In fact, when you take a step-by-step approach, you may find you will go faster than expected. Most importantly, with each step, we get a little more confident in what we’re doing. And with more confidence, comes the next step, then the next, and so on. Get the free printable on goals at Firefly Freebies.
3. Seek encouragement – this is a big one!
“Gotta start somewhere” is a great weapon to protect you from judgment. When you’re trying to describe your dream or idea to someone and they just don’t get it, you’re probably going to get some weird looks and unasked opinions. Remember this with your kids. When they come to you and say, “Hey Mom! I’ve got this great idea to make popcorn bowls out of my old basketballs!” If you want your child to come to ask for your opinion in the future, you better choose how you react wisely. The idea may stink, but they need to figure that out on their own.
Lesson one: tell someone you trust, who will give you encouragement, more on this in a minute. Lesson two; don’t say a thing to someone who may bash your idea into liver pudding. Remember, if someone comes to you to share an idea, this person came to you, they feel safe with you. They are seeking a green-light. No matter what the idea they tell you, give them a high-five! Anyone who drums-up the courage to tell someone something dear to their heart deserves a five.
This happened to me many times before I finally learned my valuable lesson of ‘pick who you share with’. The most hurting time was when I shared some ideas with someone I loved. You’d think that is the right person to share with, and sometimes it is, but those loved ones can be very critical. They don’t mean to be critical. They love you so much they don’t want you to fail. So to ‘protect’ you, they blast constructive criticism from the gate. Parents, spouses, best friends listen to me, please. You may think you’re helping, but you’re not. At this point, think before you speak, this isn’t your spotlight to steel with knowledge or ego, it isn’t a time to ask a million questions of how they’re going to do it, again, just be excited for them, let them have this moment and give them encouragement.
Getting worked up
The embarrassing time when I shared my idea was at a dinner party with my husband and his colleagues. Wrong time. I panicked really. Of course, at any work function, one of the questions people asked is, “Where do you work?” I should have known better. Why wouldn’t they ask this, we’re all curious to know what people do and secretly compare our lives to theirs. We’re all guilty of that. Anyway…while we were sitting at the dinner table waiting for our salads, the butterflies started to flutter in my belly.
Here I was a stay-at-mom-home who was trying to start a blog. I wanted to say something important like I’m launching a new product. Everyone else has these big fancy things they were doing. My blog was just starting out and wasn’t too confident about it. I guess I could say I’m a stay-at-home-mom, which I’m very proud of doing, but I got stupid. My hands were getting sweaty as the person next to me told us what she did. These people have awesome jobs. Me? I had a hobby. And the annoying part of this experience was that it was loud in the restaurant so you had to yell for anyone to hear you. Go figure.
“What do you do?“
Yikes! My turn. Oh boy. “I’m starting a new blog to help people go after their true dream in life and do more than exist.” At the time my blog was domorethanexist.com. From my answer people just stared at me, which seemed like five minutes. Because no one said anything I felt like I had to explain myself. I should have stopped there. Not really knowing what I was saying I went on and fumbled, but tried to catch myself. Big “L” to the forehead.
When I was trying to explain the blog their expression on their faces made me feel so out of place like I had a bug on my face and they were trying to figure out if they should smack it or let it crawl in my mouth and choke me. All this was going through my head until I said my magic words “Gotta start somewhere, right?” All of a sudden, the bug jumped off my face and into their mouths, they couldn’t argue, they couldn’t judge. Those four words made all the difference, and who knows maybe they were jealous they weren’t in a position I was. Toast to that! Wipe to the brow.
Two quick lessons at the dinner party:
- Know your pitch before you go to a dinner party
- When you get that ‘bug on your face look’ use “Gotta start somewhere, right?”, they’ll simply nod their head and repeat, “Gotta start somewhere.” Try it, it’s funny.
Where do you get true encouragement?
Know who to go to.
This goes back to some of the things I just said. If you know the person you’re going to is going to be critical, don’t talk to that person. I know that’s going to be hard, because sometimes we have this weird emotional acceptance thing that goes something like this, “if Sally (the critical person) approves of my idea then it’s gotta be a good one. I’ll just keep asking her opinion on my ideas until I get a thumbs-up from her.” STOP IT! You’re playing the acceptance game, fold your hand and leave the table. If you continue to go to this person your self-esteem will tank. Don’t have anyone? Talk to me! Seriously, send me an email and we’ll talk.
The Bible is full of encouragement. In a weird way, the Bible is not dated, meaning God speaks to us individually through His words no matter what year it is. One verse may mean something one day, then a year later that same verse may mean something totally different. He knows what you need to hear and when you need to hear it. You just have to willing to read the pages. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV).
Teachers, mentors, coaches, our kids.
Teachers are great encouragers, so are mentors, coaches, and even your own children. When I tell my son an idea I get a ‘high five’ right away. Kids are pretty smart, they’re extremely observant. On a side note, just the other day, I was trying to figure out a new plugin for the website and it took me forever to figure it out, when in fact, I couldn’t get it to work. My son had asked how my day went and I told him I had wasted it on a silly plugin, nothing got done. His response surprised me, “Mom, you didn’t waste your day, you learned what not to do!” I laughed, smiled, and said, “Right On! I needed to hear that. Thanks, Bud.”
If anyone can encourage you, it can be yourself. Gotta start somewhere. With that said, head over to my Freebies and download my top favorite affirmations.
More sources of encouragement come from non-fiction books, YouTube videos of motivational speakers, stories from those TV talent shows, music, and even a stranger. When I first started out I got encouragement from Holley Gerth’s book, “You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream“. I still reference it today. So good!
4. And lastly, tap into courage.
In 2008 I started blogging. I had no idea what I was doing or how to do it for that matter. Note the dinner party. All I knew was that I needed to start somewhere. In the various books and ‘how to blog’ posts I read over the years, I’ve noticed a common denominator; nothing happens until Courage is invited (make picture quote).
I had to get the guts to try. “Gotta start somewhere” gives us permission to take a step forward, to try it on for a bit. They say, “You don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but you gotta at least try. So if you fall, it’s because you didn’t know what you’re doing. And that’s okay. Now stand the hell back up and figure it out.”
What is courage?
It’s the moment in time where we take a step of faith not knowing what will come of it but do it anyway. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV) Gotta start somewhere.
When we put ourselves out there, people are going to judge. The magical element of courage is that we don’t care what other people think, we have a vision and we’re going to try our hardest to see that vision become part of the big picture. When people watch, give them a show. Show them how to move forward, how to stand back up, and how to fight.
Those bug-on-your-face looks are beaming with curiosity or maybe jealously. Remember, everyone has their own opinion, and they are only opinions; it’s you who you need to believe in.
How do we ‘start somewhere’?
- Pray. Daily. In Jesus’s name. “Lord, light my fire within. What is my next step?”
- Plan. Step by step.
- Practice. Try your dream on, take it off, try it on again.
You stepping out in faith may not only help you but others who want to do the same. “Gotta start somewhere” isn’t just permission to try; it’s also to inspire others to do the same.
By CT Copyright © 2017 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.