Finishing is hard. Beginning can be even harder. If you’re prone to procrastination, perhaps it seems to you that tomorrow would be a much better day to start. If you’re a perfectionist, you might not want to get going until you are certain that every single element is in place to ensure that you can do the best job ever. If you’re a reflector, maybe you want some more time to just think things through. If you love to plan your work and then work your plan, perhaps the plan just isn’t ready yet. These are all obstacles to getting started.
Think of all the times you’ve heard someone say ‘Oh, I wish I’d learnt to ski/gone to college/learnt to play the guitar/taken a year out when I was younger, it would have been so much easier’. When such an issue comes up with one of my coaching clients, our approach is to stop berating ourselves for not having started sooner but to decide to start right now.
Here are some of the lessons we’ve learnt together about starting:
Starting doesn’t have to be perfect
One of my clients wanted to start to present more often to key stakeholders. With his manager’s support, he arranged to present at his team’s fortnightly meeting. He did his prep, rehearsed and presented at the first meeting. Technology let him down and his slides didn’t work properly which unnerved him a bit but he carried on and got through it. It wasn’t the perfect start but the next time was easier.
Starting lines aren’t always in the same place
You know how in the 800m race on an oval track the start positions are staggered so the athletes in the outside lanes don’t run an extra few metres? Well, our starting lines are sometimes in different places too – if you and a colleague are going on a training course together, you bring different skills, knowledge, aptitude and experiences so one of you is bound to find it easier. Don’t get frustrated – remember that we all start somewhere.
Start small rather than not at all
So many people never get started because they have the big goal in mind and that’s just too overwhelming. If you want a run a marathon but have never really run before, you don’t start by running 10 miles. Run for 10 minutes. If you’re just at the beginning of your career and dream of being CEO, there are probably a few steps in between: what can you do right now to move towards the first step?
From my experience as a coach, the most common obstacle to people achieving their goals or living their dreams is that they just don’t get started. A car isn’t going anywhere until we start the ignition. We are just the same: we need to get started in order to progress.
Today’s pebble for you to reflect on:
What will you do this week to get started on your goal?
What do you think?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?