Where do I start? This is a perennial question in the business of life. We have great dreams and visions and plans, but we often get stuck on where to start.
Maybe it’s an assignment for college we’re avoiding. Or it could be something bigger we set for ourselves — that business or blog we’ve always wanted to start. When we take a big step back, it might even be our lives that we are having the greatest difficulty starting. By that I mean, the purpose-filled life we know we could be living.
We know what we want or have to do, we’re just finding it hard to get moving on it. Something is blocking our progress. We feel uncertain and can’t see the way forward yet.
Getting going on something can be one of those deceptively challenging traps we get snared by. We procrastinate and delay the inevitable. We agonise over a multitude of different options and possibilities. We reach for grand solutions then cut ourselves down with crippling self-criticism and doubt.
If we’re honest with ourselves and ask Why don’t I start?, what is the response? Is it fear? Insecurity? Apathy? Some call these our inner demons. Those shadowy aspects of ourselves that keep a strangle hold on us and prevent us from moving forward.
I’ve lost many good hours battling emotional monsters from the deep – the insecurities, self-criticisms, and other phantoms that crush progress. I’ve fallen prey to the sirens of procrastination and distraction who’ve lured me away to shinier shores but left me feeling empty and wasted. I’ve got to admit, it’s really hard writing this now, as the incessant inner critic is holding these words up in comparison to “real writers”. Who am I to say anything?
But thankfully, there is another voice I can choose to listen to. One brave enough to think it doesn’t matter if my ideas aren’t that strong and I don’t get lucid poetry down on my first draft. It is enough to just show up and try to convey some thoughts that feel important right now.
I’ve had many mis-starts, thinking I was getting something going, only to have it not really go anywhere besides some notebook on my shelf. I have no certainty whatsoever that this new undertaking will be any different, but I have to try. If things don’t work out, at least I will have the process to learn from.
These “failures” are integral to the process. Allowing this effort to be a failure is part of the plan. Fear of failure prevents many good things from starting, however, tentative steps made embracing fear spark curious things into life.
Baby steps at first. Once we get some momentum, the going seems to get a bit easier. Things start to fall into place as we get more familiar with our process.
But how to start?
Well, it helps to start with a question, and if that question is merely where do I start?, at least it gets the ball rolling.
What initial response does that question stir up? What are your obstacles? Just get something down, and then move on. A better beginning may present itself as you progress through the work, but for now, just throw down that initial spark. It is something we can return to later to mine for greater detail.
This is the beginning of an incredibly powerful and insightful process. A practice of mindful creative enquiry I use to find clarity, purpose and greater meaning in my life. It is a continually unfolding and evolving process I hope to explore in more depth as I progress with this blog.
I hope you will join me and discover how to tap into that brave inner voice that knows how to get going when things are going nowhere.