Posts Tagged ‘Start’

Starting starts with starting.

lightning in handIf you haven’t done it before and you want to start, you have only one option – to start.

Much as there’s a huge difference between lightning and lightning bug, there’s a world of difference between starting and talking about starting. Where talking about starting flutters aimlessly flower to flower, starting jolts trees from the ground; fries all the appliances in your house; and leaves a smoldering crater in its wake. And where it’s easy to pick a lightning bug out of the grass and hold it in your hand, it’s far more difficult to grab lightning and wrestle it into submission.

Words to live by: When in mid conversation you realize you’re talking about starting – Stop talking and start starting. Some examples:

Instead of talking about starting a community of peers, send a meeting request to people you respect. Keep the group small for now, but set the agenda, hold the meeting, and set up the next one. You’re off and running. You started.

Replace your talk of growing a culture of trust with actions to demonstrate trust. Take active responsibility for the group’s new work that did not go as planned (aka – failure) so they feel safe to do more new work. Words don’t grow trust, only actions do.

Displace your words of building a culture of innovation with deeds that demonstrate caring. When someone does a nice job or goes out of their way to help, send words of praise in an email their boss – and copy them, of course. Down the road, when you want help with innovation you’ll get it because you cared enough to recognize good work. Ten emails equal twenty benefactors for your future innovation effort. Swap your talk of creating alignment with a meeting to thank the group for their special effort. But keep the meeting to two agenda items – 1. Thank you. 2. Pizza.

When it comes to starting, start small. When you can’t start because you don’t have permission, reduce size/scope until you do, and start. When you’re afraid to start, create a safe-to-fail experiment, and start. When no one asks you to start, that’s the most important time – build the minimum viable prototype you always wanted to build. Don’t ask – build. And if you’re afraid to start even the smallest thing because you think you may get fired – start anyway. Any company that fires you for taking initiative will be out of business soon enough. You might as well start.

Talk is cheap and actions are priceless. And if you never start a two year project you’re always two years away. Start starting.

Image credit – Vail Marston

Just Start

Starting is scary – we’re afraid to get it wrong. And we let our fear block us from starting. And that’s strange, because there’s never certainty on the right way because every situation is different. Fact is, you will be wrong, it’s just a matter of how wrong. But even the level of wrongness is not important. What’s important is starting because starting gives us the opportunity to respond to our wrongness.  And that’s the trick – our response to being wrong is progress. Start, be wrong, refocus, and go. Progress.

The biggest impediment to finishing is starting. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. Just start.

Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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