One of the most common issues I hear about from readers is knowing what they want to create, having plenty of ideas, but not knowing where to start. Being a creative thinker comes with many benefits and gifts but having too many options can also leave us feeling paralysed by inaction. If you’re in this camp right now, this post is for you…
Do one thing every day that gets you closer to where you want to be
This doesn’t have to be anything world-changing or life-altering. It could be as simple as drafting a short “About” page for your website. If it helps, set a time limit. Say “OK, I will do this for 30 minutes then stop.” If you want to carry on when the 30 minutes are up, by all means go for it. If not, that’s fine too. But show up, tackle one thing at a time and don’t expect Rome to be built in a day.
Focus on the very next step
Whole books and seminars have been dedicated to running a marathon. When it comes down to it, though, you get from the start to the finish by putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again.
Big projects like this are like running a marathon in a thick fog. If you think of the finish line when you’re 50 feet beyond the start, it will get overwhelming fast because it’s far away and you can’t yet see how to get there. Instead, remember all that matters is that next step, however tiny.
With big nebulous projects (like a new coaching business), we rarely know all the steps we need to take before we get started, which can contribute to the paralysis. Remember all that matters is that very next step because it’s one step closer to where you want to be. Trust that although you can’t see anything beyond the next few yards, that path is there, and the further you go, the clearer it will become.
Try asking the right questions…
Sometimes we become stuck because we feel foggy around what we’re trying to do and we’re not asking ourselves the right questions. It can be helpful to take a step back and ask: “Is there any additional information I need right now to get started?” and “What are the first decisions I need to make?”
Depending on the project, you might also find it helpful to think about the parameters: how will you know when you’re finished? Where do you hope to end up? Taking time to get clear on these things can not only shed light on the best way forward, but also give you an additional boost of creative momentum that will help you get started.
… But don’t get tied up waiting for all the answers
At the same time, it can be OK not to know exactly what you’re doing to get started. In some situations, you’ll hinder yourself by trying to decide everything in advance. Feeling like we need to have all our ducks in a row before we can start is a common intellectual justification that masks experiences like fear and vulnerability. Getting started on a new project is hard, especially if we’re not yet sure exactly what it will look like or how we will get to the end.
If you know you tend towards inaction because you feel you need to prepare just that little extra to be ready, remember you’ll end up in a much better place if you leave some things open and wait for the project to evolve before deciding.
With all of this being said, there is no magic bullet. The best way to start is simply to start. Remember, you don’t need to have all the answers. Begin by taking one step forward and see what unfolds next.
Are you stuck in a place of inaction at the moment? Which of these suggestions resonates most for you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.