Start Anywhere

What you really need to do is start anywhere.

This is my favorite answer, even when I don’t have questions. It’s the perfect answer when I have doubt or when I feel paralyzed by too many options, too many demands. It’s also the best thing to remember when I’m feeling like my day-to-day routine is stagnating or becoming old and dull.

I like START ANYWHERE because it encourages effort, plain and simple. I don’t have to have the right approach or the best approach, and I don’t have to be afraid that I might have the altogether wrong approach. START ANYWHERE gives you permission to begin even when you don’t know how. You can shift at any time, but you just need to begin. And once you begin you have success.

Chances are there is something, maybe a bunch of things, that you’ve wanted to do and just haven’t gotten around to doing. It could be something big like changing jobs, taking a trip, or gaining a new skill. Or it could be something small and probably not too time consuming but you’ve put it off because other important things are currently in your face. And before you know it a few little things have become hundreds of little things floating around in your head and together they’ve morphed into a huge thing that weighs you down as you go about life. Then you never get to any of these things because you don’t know which one take on, and if you actually do pick one to tackle it means you’re leaving the rest sitting there and you feel like why bother because you’re never going to get to them all anyway. Ugh!

It’s OK. Let go of your narrative. Start Anywhere.

The reality is: That thing you want to do? It wants you to start. By thinking of this thing, having it “on your mind” means that you’re already spending energy on it. The more energy you give it, the more invested you already are in it. Not only that, merely thinking something sets up a sort of relationship between you and that thing or concept. You’re already doing it, though probably not in the way you had intended.

Or you could suddenly decide this thing was never worth doing anyway, and that is fine of course. You’ll figure out how to cut the cord that attaches you to the idea and release it. But if you can’t bring yourself to let it go you might want to consider ending the torture. Rather than beating yourself up every time you realize you’re just never getting around to that thing, stop sending wasted energy. Let yourself start. Anywhere.

Just like everything in life, there will never be a perfect moment to go for it, whatever it is. (We’ve all heard this before.) And there probably isn’t even a sensible or logical place to begin. Or maybe there is. Maybe you think you need more time, more money, an extra pair of hands or a special place for it all to happen. That all may well be true, but there is another possibility which is just as plausible as your list of conditions that need to be in place before you can begin this thing: It is already the perfect time, the best place, and the optimal conditions to start. You can talk yourself out of this, of course, but the reality is that there is nothing left to wait for.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big deal to start a project. You might want to plan it out just a bit so you don’t feel like you’re wasting time, especially if you realize you have to shift your approach once you get into it. Or maybe you’re the type who likes to map out everything, breaking down a big project into smaller and smaller sub-projects so you feel that you have a grip on direction and pacing. And perhaps you even use project management software like MS Project or Gantt charts because you’re that into planning and tracking your progress.

I am a fan of the virtual (i.e., mental) project plan but it only works when I’ve done a similar project before. I mentally list the steps involved and often throw in new ones in if I’m feeling up for it. For obvious reasons this approach doesn’t work for projects doing things I haven’t done before — I just don’t know what I’m getting into. For those projects I make myself sit down and do some research and figure things out ahead of time. It feels more like work, but it helps avoid frustration, and constant starts and stops.

Decide what amount of planning is right for you. Or don’t. Just pick something and Start Anywhere.