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Begin Before You’re Ready!

Don’t Wait for the Perfect Moment…

‘Karen and Jay describe the power of taking action - getting started – and avoiding the trap of waiting until all the conditions are perfect.’

We all have dreams.  Important things we would like to accomplish. We all also have doubts.  Anxieties and fears as we contemplate our path forward.  We hesitate, we plan and too often, we procrastinate.  Telling ourselves that ‘it’s not yet quite the right time.’  Or, that we lack something – perhaps the required experience, the relationships, the time, the money – or whatever.  We tell ourselves that we just need to wait for conditions to change – to become ‘perfect.’  We tell ourselves we need to do just a bit more planning.


Well, unfortunately, it’s a trap!  Because the truth is – as others have so perceptively observed - ‘planning is the place where dreams go to die!’ 


Thankfully, however, there is a surefire way to avoid or escape this trap.  Take action!  You need to begin – even before you feel ready.  Your plan may be far from perfect.  But nine times out of ten, it will be ‘good enough.’  Get started.  And, interestingly, when you take that first step, something magical just seems to happen.  You begin to see where that second step should be.  Perhaps even a couple more steps as well.  You get confidence. The path forward comes into focus.  Your physiology changes.  You’re in motion, you’re going.  And everything starts to fall into place. 


Embarking on the journey to accomplish your dreams requires taking that crucial first step, even if the plan isn't perfect or fully formed. The reality is that waiting for the perfect moment or the ideal circumstances may likely result in missed opportunities and stagnant progress. Procrastination and excessive planning can lead to a state of analysis paralysis, where you become immobilized by the fear of making the wrong decision or facing potential obstacles. However, the truth is that progress often comes from taking imperfect action rather than waiting for perfection.

By getting started with a plan that may only be 70 percent ready, you can begin to gain momentum and make tangible progress towards your goals. You can adapt along the way.  Course correct and make incremental changes. 

Moreover, getting started is a powerful antidote to self-doubt and fear of failure. By taking action, you confront your fears head-on and demonstrate to yourself that you are capable of making progress towards your dreams. Each step taken, no matter how small, builds resilience and strengthens the belief in your ability to overcome challenges and achieve success. As the saying goes, "You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."

Ultimately, the decision to get started is a declaration of commitment to your dreams and aspirations. It signifies a willingness to embrace uncertainty, take risks, and seize opportunities for growth and fulfillment. While the path ahead may be daunting and the destination may seem distant, every journey begins with that first step. So, rather than waiting for the perfect moment, seize the opportunity to start now and trust in your ability to navigate the journey ahead, knowing that each step taken brings you closer to realizing your dreams.

“Throw Your Heart Over the Bar!”

"Throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow." It is not surprising that this quote, found on page 88 of Norman Vincent Peale's book The Power of Positive Thinking, was told to a young athlete by his coach during a momentary lapse in confidence. One of the greatest gifts a coach can give his or her players is to communicate repeatedly and wholeheartedly that he or she believes in them, and to drum into them that "they have the stuff" to succeed. For when a person truly believes in himself, victory is always in the cards.

Perhaps too often, we wait to begin a challenge until we have everything lined up, air-tight, and squared away. For instance, if you are firing a ballistic nuclear missile, that caution is certainly understandable. We are often taught as children and young adults to make sure we prepare, do the front-end work, and complete the legwork before we begin. While these are good lessons, if left unchecked, this can lead to a fear of mistakes that can cripple one's ability to start a project or journey.

As human beings, we are not perfect. Learning how to appropriately respond to mistakes and criticism is important to our individual growth and critical to learning how to lead a team. So, while being prepared to embark on a project is important, it is equally important to take that leap of faith and get beyond the starting line. As challenges inevitably arise, take them on for what they are: not immovable obstacles, but opportunities to pivot, adapt, and overcome. Too often, we see highly talented individuals sitting on the sidelines, in the bleachers, and in broadcast booths instead of on the playing field simply because they are afraid to make mistakes, and maybe worse, too afraid to be told about their mistakes. Ultimately, it comes down to a lack of confidence and an unwillingness to risk failure in something you've put your entire effort into.

So don't be a holdout! Anything is possible if you believe. There is truly inestimable power in being "all-in" and believing with all your heart that you can attain your goal. Once you have decidedly and affirmatively begun your mission with that full heart, it will amaze you how often things seem to fall into place throughout your journey. Sure, there will be frustrations and setbacks, but if the only outcome vested within your subconscious is reaching the goal, your unbreakable drive to succeed will result in victory. So, throw your heart over whatever bar is holding you back, and your body will follow!

Paralysis by Analysis – Getting Stuck at the Starting Line

“I don’t know how to write, I’m going to do a bad job, I don’t really like assignments, I’m going to have to do it perfectly, I need to wait until I have enough time.” From a Dr. Jordan Peterson speech. He goes on to say that one of those is enough to stop you cold, and all five… you’re just done. He was referring to excuses he would get from students as to why they hadn’t started an assignment. This state of mind, where someone is overanalyzing a task or goal to the point that they don’t even get started, is sometimes referred to as “paralysis by analysis.”

When I was a child, I liked to write poetry. Some of it, I look back on more than 40 years later and think it was pretty good stuff. Not Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson, but still more substance than rhyme, as opposed to Dr. Seuss. There were a few edits I made sometimes, but I didn’t take long to write something before looking it over.

Dr. Peterson went on to suggest that his students, or anyone for that matter, should simply write the rough draft. He said, “That bad first draft, that’s the most valuable thing, that’s what you need… the willingness to be a fool is the precursor to transformation.” I highly recommend listening to the whole speech. In fact, here is a copy of it, set as a narration to a YouTube video by someone who decided to follow the advice and start a channel, without any background experience. No special training or education on video production. He simply started and continues to get better at what he does over time: The Jordan Peterson Effect

Starting something when you’re not quite ready is a form of committing to doing something. Getting ready to get ready is a form of paralysis by analysis. Even when you don’t feel that you are ready, get started anyway. Make that commitment. Why? Well, William Hutchison Murray explained why really well in his paragraph quote about committing. It’s one of my favorite quotes of all time, and I have seen it play out many times:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

The origin of the word “providence” is from the 14th century and came from a Latin word meaning foresight. In this quote, it is capitalized, which most likely means it was referring to divine Providence, or you could even say divine intervention. Whatever your belief, there are examples too numerous to list of situations where so many things just seemed to fall into place once someone committed to getting started. Hesitancy, procrastination, creating or clinging to excuses are all simply different forms of fear manifesting as roadblocks. Kick fear to the curb by simply getting started even before you think or feel you’re ready. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Positive Profile of the Week:  Elon Musk – Certainly, ‘Not One to Wait!

This week we are delighted to highlight an entrepreneur and inspirational leader who epitomizes the idea – of just getting started:  Elon Musk.

Musk is renowned for his visionary approach to business, and his ventures like SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, OpenAI, Neuralink, PayPal, and even his involvement with Twitter, exemplifies this innovative spirit. What sets Musk apart is his ability to start these ventures without the traditional infrastructure in place, and to develop and expand them as he goes along. This dynamic and adaptive approach to business has been a hallmark of his success.

SpaceX, Musk's aerospace company, is a prime example of this. When Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, he did not have an established infrastructure or the necessary technology to build rockets. Instead of waiting for the industry to catch up, Musk took an entrepreneurial approach by investing his own money to develop the technology needed to launch rockets. SpaceX faced numerous setbacks and failures in its early days, but Musk and his team persisted, learning from their mistakes and continuously iterating their designs. Today, SpaceX is a leading aerospace company with a strong track record of successful rocket launches and a pivotal role in the commercial space industry.


Similarly, Tesla, Musk's electric car company, started with a bold vision to revolutionize the automotive industry, despite lacking the infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities of established car manufacturers. Musk faced skepticism and challenges from industry experts who doubted the feasibility of electric cars and questioned Tesla's ability to compete with established automakers. However, Musk persevered and invested in developing innovative electric vehicle technology and building a network of superchargers to support long-distance travel. Over the years, Tesla has overcome these obstacles and established itself as a major player in the electric car market, with a growing fleet of vehicles and a strong brand presence.

The Boring Company is another example of Musk's entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to innovate in industries that are ripe for disruption. When Musk founded The Boring Company in 2016, he did not have the necessary infrastructure or expertise in tunneling and transportation systems. However, Musk saw an opportunity to revolutionize urban transportation by developing a network of underground tunnels to alleviate traffic congestion. Despite facing skepticism and regulatory challenges, Musk and his team have made significant progress in developing tunneling technology and completing several tunnel projects. The Boring Company continues to explore innovative solutions for urban transportation and is working on expanding its tunnel network in cities around the world.

OpenAI, a research organization focused on artificial intelligence, was co-founded by Musk in 2015 with the mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all of humanity. When OpenAI was founded, the infrastructure and technology needed to develop AGI were still in the early stages of development. However, Musk and his co-founders recognized the potential of AGI and the importance of guiding its development in a safe and beneficial manner. OpenAI has since become a leading research organization in the field of AI, contributing to the advancement of AI technology and advocating for responsible AI development.

Neuralink, another of Musk's ambitious projects, aims to develop brain-computer interface technology to enhance human cognitive abilities and treat neurological disorders. When Musk founded Neuralink in 2016, the technology required to develop a functional brain-computer interface was still in its infancy, and the infrastructure to support such a groundbreaking project was non-existent. Despite these challenges, Musk and his team have made significant progress in developing the technology and conducting research to better understand the human brain. Neuralink continues to push the boundaries of neuroscience and aims to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and treat neurological conditions.

PayPal, the online payments company, was co-founded by Musk in 1999. At the time, online payments were still a new and emerging industry, and the infrastructure to support secure and efficient online transactions was not fully developed. Musk and his co-founders saw an opportunity to simplify online payments and create a more secure and convenient way for people to send and receive money online. Despite facing competition and regulatory challenges, PayPal grew rapidly and became one of the leading online payment platforms, paving the way for the digital payment revolution that we see today.

Finally, Musk's involvement with Twitter, although not a company he founded, reflects his entrepreneurial mindset and willingness to engage with new technologies and platforms. Musk has been an active user of Twitter, using the platform to communicate with his followers, share updates about his various ventures, and even influence market trends and public opinion. His engagement with Twitter demonstrates his ability to adapt to new technologies and leverage them to connect with people and promote his businesses.

Musk’s willingness to take risks, invest in innovative technologies, and challenge the status quo provides a great example for any of us wanting to create a new company, get into a new line of work, pick a new hobby, or even just start a small project – you’ll never find the perfect time – so just do it!

Positive Quotes of the Week:  Just Get Started!

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney


"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." - Mark Twain


"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." - Lao Tzu


"Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect." – Unknown


"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." - Zig Ziglar


"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Chinese Proverb


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