Several years after starting Reddit.com, an extremely popular website, co-founder Alexis Ohanian stepped on a stage to speak to a large crowd at New York City Hall.
The PowerPoint slide behind him read, “I have no idea what I’m doing and that’s awesome.”
He went on to tell the crowd that “sucking is the first step at being sorta good at something.”
And recently, another successful entrepreneur who was teaching people how to create online courses said, “If you’re not embarrassed by your first course, you published it too late!”
What was their point?
These guys were debunking a myth.
See, many people think that successful entrepreneurs and people who leave their corporate jobs to reinvent themselves have it all figured out before they leap.
Well, I’ve got news for you: they don’t.
I agree with the guys I just quoted. You shouldn’t wait until everything’s perfect before you launch an idea.
When you want to build something or reinvent yourself, don’t huddle around getting ready to get ready. Don’t wait until your path is clear of all obstacles or you’re sure you can pull it off before you get going.
Get out there now and slush through the muck. Ready, aim, fire doesn’t work. Starting once you’re ready is a surefire way never to begin.
I’ve owned dozens of businesses in my lifetime.
And while I’ve had many slip-ups over the years, I’ve done one thing right from the very beginning.
Allow me to explain.
My first business venture was cleaning offices, and I went into it with gusto. Every time I’d get an idea that I thought would improve or grow the business, I’d act on it right away.
Some people thought I was crazy. Reckless even.
But I didn’t see any use in asking other people for their opinion or permission to do what I thought was the right thing to do. So, I just went for it.
And it almost always paid off.
For instance, late one afternoon, my brother and I flew into Atlanta. While I was on the plane, I got an idea to open an office there.
So, I called a realtor when we landed. I told him I was looking for about 5,000 square feet of office space, and if he would drive me around to look at offices the next day, I’d sign a lease on one.
The next day, the realtor drove my brother and me around, and we picked out an office. I told him to get the lease ready, and I’d sign it at the end of the day.
Then, my brother and I took off to register the business, purchase office furniture, order a phone line, and open a bank account. We also went to the newspaper and took out help wanted ads.
Late that afternoon, I went back to the realtor’s office and signed the lease. And two weeks later, the Atlanta office was up and running.
That was how I operated in business then, and it’s how I operate now. I get an idea and act on it right away. I don’t wait until I have all my ducks in a row. I just get on with it and make adjustments along the way.
Many of my greatest business successes—my quantum leaps if you will—over the past 57 years have come from acting without delay.
But what if you’re a “logical” person?
Of course, we’re not all cut from the same cloth.
So, if you’re a planner or consider yourself to be a logical or cautious person, take small steps when you have a big idea, such as a career change, business idea, or life transformation.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get out of your head and start taking action:
• Conduct “experiments.” It can feel safe to have a plan, but it’s freeing to realize that nearly no misstep can destroy you. This gives you the courage to improvise and think outside the box.
When you look at something as an experiment, it changes your perspective. It takes the pressure off because an experiment is simply trying something new, where the boundaries of “possible” haven’t already been defined.
• Act first, then reflect and adjust along the way. Don’t over plan or prepare before getting started. Do what you think is right, then reflect on it and make adjustments if necessary.
Think about what you’re learning about yourself, your ideas, your capabilities, and the new possibilities for yourself. Figure out what you enjoy, what you dislike, and what you’re good at. Then consider how it all informs your next steps.
• Remind yourself why you’re going there. Excitement is your superpower. When you are excited, you feel drawn toward something rather than feeling forced to complete a task, need or obligation.
• Do something new each day. Wake up and try something new—something that forces you out of your shell. Think bigger, bolder and more creatively.
• Celebrate tiny wins along the way. It’s not easy to do things that are outside your comfort one. So take a little time to acknowledge your accomplishments along the way, no matter how small they may be. Celebrating along the way will give your encouragement, confidence and courage to keep going.
Done is better than perfect
When I say you should act before you’re ready, I’m not suggesting that you be reckless. You should do some amount of prep work. But then, instead of balking, bet on yourself.
Getting it done is better than being perfect. There’s a wonderful payoff for moving an idea into action at the fastest possible speed: You bring more of yourself to the surface and, instead of making incremental improvements, you set yourself up to take a quantum leap.
You see, there’s always something inside you that you are unaware of; something you didn’t know you were capable of being or doing. It comes from the essence of your being—your spirit—which is always for expansion and fuller expression.
Commit to doing something you’d like to do but are afraid of today. You’ll be absolutely amazed at what comes forth when you allow yourself to go with the flow, allowing yourself to start even though you feel you should continue to plan and prepare.
To your success,
P.S. Regardless of what you’re working on, I hope you’ll start before you feel ready. Download the “report card” below to help you develop this valuable habit and quickly rise to the next level of your life.