You have the idea. You’ve done the research. You’ve got the vision so clearly in your mind, you can almost touch it. You’ve even started to be brave enough to talk to people about it. You invest yourself financially and emotionally in your passions and visions –
And then, you freeze.
Weeks, months, even years pass, and each time you get a little further with your vision, but never past that gripping fear that you’re just not good enough. That what you dream of is so unattainable that if it can’t be perfect within it’s first step, there is no point at all.
There is an overwhelm of information out there screaming for your attention; as tempting as it can be to dive in head first, if you dig too deeply, sometimes you can get stuck in the reading rather than doing, otherwise known as analysis paralysis (the irony of this article is not lost..!).
Desideratum has had a few false starts itself, and it has taken years of reading positive literature and taking the smallest of steps to accept that your ultimate vision really is a process, as they said all along, and that the only way to reach it is to stand up and forge ahead.
Below are four steps to encourage you to follow your heart and resources to guide you through each one:
1.Look At What You Have Already Achieved
This is a truly important first step. Oftentimes, when we are in a state of despondency and don’t know where to start, we are actually underestimating all that we have achieved already. These achievements can come in all shapes and sizes, but must be celebrated regardless. Just the fact that you have a passion or a vision is an achievement, and crucially it is a starting point.
If you feel like it would serve you, make a list of all your achievements so you can see them written down, staring back at you. This can be a tricky exercise if you’re feeling particularly down about where you’re at and can’t see the wood for the trees. Try to sink a little deeper into this – had a really tough week but still managed to get up and get dressed? Don’t disregard that.
If you find yourself really stuck, perhaps ask someone close to you what they see you having achieved – you’ll be surprised at what they come back with that you cannot see yourself.
2. Work With What You Already Have
This is a challenge to the perfectionist within, shouting from the rooftops that your vision cannot be realised until it has attained that perfect status that will catapult you into the heavenly realms of success on the first day of inception. Unfortunately for said perfectionist, this is never how it works, though the journey is rarely one that we see.
Conversely to what you may have come to believe, having restrictions can actually work in your favour and lead you to be more creative with your solutions. Oblique strategies is a great example of this; created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, it gives creatives one prompt that they must work with, encouraging them to use lateral thinking. It is especially aimed at musicians, but could be a great tool for you to try regardless of your discipline.
Ultimately, a problem is always looking for a solution – is there something you can work towards?
3. Make a Plan
There are those of us who love to plan and make lists, and there are those who don’t. A common trait however seems to be the above mentioned analysis paralysis, where we research and make a rough plan, but never seem to make it past this point.
As someone who falls into the latter category, I find that brainstorming around what I would love to do, and then breaking that down into smaller categories that eventually becomes an actionable list has really helped refine the process of setting goals.
Getting specific about your goals can actually be more difficult than you realise and is something in itself that can take a bit of practice, which leads into the next step…
4. Just Start
The hardest of them all. There is no easy answer to this, it is just a simple yet at times overwhelming truth. There are ways to make starting easier however, and a big one is to just take each step one by one.
By taking each step at a time and pushing yourself just a little further out of your comfort zone, you’ll begin to realise that whilst the fear may never entirely dissipate, you’re more capable than you have ever given yourself credit for.
I’m not sure that any of us are ever truly ‘ready’, and as scary as that is, it is also very freeing.
Believe in yourself – you never know where it might take you.