I Wrote This For You: It’s Time To Start

You’re ready. You can feel it.

You’ve got the vision in your mind, you have the process rolled out, and you know that you’re ready to start.

But, you haven’t.

January was a test run. You’re easing into February. Deep down, however, you know that it’s not about the month. It’s about the daily struggle that is telling yourself to “just start”, revving yourself up….almost starting…and deciding to wait for the next day.

With every day that passes, with every “Tomorrow”, you find yourself becoming frustrated because you can’t figure out why you’re still standing on square one. 

Why haven’t you progressed to another part of the board?

Why are you still here?

You’re not alone in your thoughts. 

Launch paralysis is a real thing and you’re not the only victim. When you hear the words, “Just start”, you know that it’s true. You know that all you need to do is get out there and…well, start.

Have you considered that you feel stuck because of:

1. Fear: You’re afraid to get started.

Putting yourself out there is hard, in any capacity. 

The world can be very unkind and I’ve seen people laugh at, mock, and drag people who try something new. It doesn’t have to be online people, too.

Have you ever tried to tell a friend or family member about your new plans and they’ve shut you down?

It hurts when people greet your efforts with unkindness, whether you know them personally, or if they’re some random person from the internet.

I can’t take those feelings away, or promise you that the road ahead will be easy, but I can share a quote, from Brene Brown, that helped

“You either walk inside your own story and own it or stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness”

No one can take the reins for you here, my friend. At the end of the day, the only one who can determine whether taking the first step is worth it…is you. 

But for what it’s worth, I’ll share another quote from Brene Brown,

“We need more people who are willing to demonstrate what it looks like to risk failure, disappointment, and regret. People willing to feel their own hurt instead of working it out on other people. People willing to own their own stories, live their value, and keep showing up.”

And, if fear doesn’t seem to be your “big block”, then maybe you’re struggling with…

2. Overwhelm: You don’t know how to start.

Information overload is a real thing.

 I’m a firm advocate of “Success happens when preparation meets opportunity”, but sometimes I overdo the preparing part. I research to the point that I’m aware of any potential way to get started, but I don’t know the right way to get started for myself. And then I remain stuck.

Can you relate?

There’s a difference between planning and acting. When you plan, you’re confident, you’re ready…you’re in control. You believe that you’ve got everything covered and that should help you execute successfully.

Until you actually start and you realize that there’s more to blogging than just writing. You have to set up an account on a platform of your choice, you have to pick a name, you have to share links with your network, you have to show up the next week.

You realize that after the first workout, you have to show up for the next one.

You realize that there’s life after just starting and it’s not as pretty as the picture in your head. You realize that to build that picture in your head…you have to keep going.

And that realization is enough to paralyze anyone. But, to climb this mountain:

You have to take it a day at a time.

Big pictures are built by consistent, tiny efforts. If you’re overwhelmed by information overload, it means that you are well-prepared. You’re over-prepared, actually. You just need to put that preparation into motion.

The best way to break the overwhelm is to take that overload, sift through the mess, and pick a point you’re comfortable starting with. It doesn’t need to be chronological – not right now. It just needs to be a point. Because once you’ve got that point out there, you’ll realize that:

  1. That wasn’t as hard as you feared it would be. And in case it was,
  2. You still got through it and got it done, anyway.

And once you realize that, you realize that you can build on that point with another part of all that information you’ve got stored up until you find a pattern that makes sense.

To find your process means to accept & navigate “the mess”. To find a solution means accepting there was a problem in the first place. You use your problem to identify the areas that need work.

You need to know your problem so you know what may be the cause of relapsing or becoming stagnant.

Becoming “comfortable” with it doesn’t mean being complacent. It means knowing it’s there without beating yourself up. 

Instead you remind yourself that you’re continually replacing the mess with the good, and each step you take is a step closer to a process.

The mess is part of the process. 

Perhaps, you’re struggling to accept this and you find that you’ve become comfortable with…

3. Waiting: You’re still searching for “perfect”.

You’ve been pushing off that date for the last six months to three years because the time hasn’t been right. 

You’re waiting for things to level out at work before you start offering your services on the side.

You’re waiting for next month to start adjusting your eating habits. You’re waiting for the right name to come in your head before you finally post.

You’re waiting…

You’re waiting…

“Yes, I’ll put something out there but…”

“I’ll get to it once I -”

“The time isn’t right, yet.”

This isn’t a call to apply pressure. I’m not trying to get you to stress yourself. But if you know, deep down, you’ve been holding on to your comfort zone in the name of waiting for the right time or circumstances, then I need to ask you, 

“When do you think the right time will come? And what does it look like?”

Sometimes, you block your progress with the vision in your mind, not realizing that reality & imagination aren’t the same. In this case, your dreams are holding you back because you’d rather stay in your mind and keep yourself from building in real life.

Sometimes, “just starting”, looks like:

– Creating an outline for your first blog post

– Writing the first (messy) chapter of your book

– Posting online, once a day

– A 15 minute workout

– Creating a free account on WordPress

– Finally taking that course that’s been chilling in your Udemy for over a year

– Asking for help

Your start doesn’t have to be a big gesture. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be something you can come back to later and tweak. Small efforts count, too.

Don’t overthink it. Because if you leave it to waiting, life will pass you by and one day you’ll ask yourself, “Why didn’t I start back then?”

“Just Start”: The Bottom Line

You have the bare minimum required to take the first step – you just need to accept it.

You don’t need to have 1000 customers before you unleash your side hustle. You don’t need to run 10km to officially start your fitness journey. And Lord knows you don’t need to cut out 5 different food groups to eat clean.

“Just starting” doesn’t require brazen bravery or bravado. Starting just needs your “yes” and your action.

And in case you need an extra push, I’ll leave you with these words:

“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.”

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

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