When was the last time you had grand ambitions or a spark of inspiration, but quickly abandoned them at the first sign of challenge? If you’re like most people, it probably happens more often than you’d like to admit.
Maybe you wanted to start exercising regularly, but when it came time to lace up your shoes, you found yourself making excuses or deciding to skip it altogether. Or maybe you’ve dreamed of starting your own business, but you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not ready yet, or that you need more experience or knowledge before you can take the plunge.
The truth is, the hardest part of accomplishing anything – whether it’s running a marathon or starting a successful business – is often just getting started. We all have moments of self-doubt and fear, but the most successful people are the ones who push through those feelings and take action, even when they don’t feel completely ready.
The Power of Just Starting
In an interview with Inc. Magazine, billionaire entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson shared his motto: “Screw it, let’s do it.” In other words, don’t wait around for the perfect opportunity or the perfect moment to take action – just jump in and start working towards your goals, even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.
It’s easy to get caught up in the planning and preparation phase – researching every possible angle and weighing all of the pros and cons – but too much analysis can actually be harmful, because it gives you more time to second-guess yourself and find reasons not to take action. Instead, take a page out of Branson’s book and be willing to take some risks and make mistakes along the way.
“Trust me, I never lose,” the late rapper Tupac Shakur once said. “Either I win, or I learn from it.” This attitude is key to success, because it allows you to view failure as an opportunity to grow and improve, rather than as a reason to give up. By starting before you feel completely ready, you give yourself the freedom to experiment and make mistakes, and to learn from those experiences so that you can do better next time.
Why Starting Matters More Than Knowing
One of the biggest hurdles to starting anything new is the feeling that you don’t know enough, or that you’re not fully prepared. But the reality is that you’ll never know everything you need to know before you get started – there will always be gaps in your knowledge, and things you discover along the way that you hadn’t anticipated.
The key is to be comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty and ambiguity, and to trust that you’ll figure it out as you go. This doesn’t mean that you should be reckless or unprepared, of course – but it does mean that you shouldn’t let a fear of the unknown hold you back from taking action.
In fact, sometimes not knowing everything can actually be an advantage. If you dive into a new challenge without all the answers, you’ll be forced to rely on your creativity and problem-solving skills to find solutions. This can be a great way to develop new skills and become more adaptable, which are both essential qualities for anyone looking to succeed in business or other pursuits.
The Hardest Part is Starting
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to start – even if you don’t feel ready, even if you’re afraid of failure, even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing. The act of starting itself will build momentum and create a sense of forward progress, which can be incredibly motivating and empowering.
Remember that successful people often start before they feel ready, and that failing is just a normal part of the learning process. Don’t let fear or uncertainty hold you back – embrace the idea of “screwing it” and just getting started. You might be surprised at what you’re capable of achieving.