I just started reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin – it’s basically about being brave. About not settling and flying too low. And about the deception inherent in the Icarus myth – that it’s dangerous to fly too high.
I love it.
In this book, Godin tells a story about when he was a kid and went to summer camp every year. You should read the book, of course, but I’ll paraphrase. At this camp there was a hugely tall diving board. 25 feet high, in his memory, with a narrow slippery ladder to reach the top. Standing at the foot of those steps was thrilling – an exhilarating rush imagining the magic of jumping into the pool at that height.
But once you actually got to the top? Petrifying.
Only problem is, it was precarious enough going up – there was no way you were going to go back DOWN the ladder.
So you had to jump. Once you started you were committed to following through.
Funnily enough (or not if you’ve made a leap yourself) …. once you do that once, the second time is far less scary.
The third and fifth and twentieth leaps are even less scary still.
The lesson? Practice starting.
If STARTING is your obstacle to getting more things done, just practice doing it over and over. Even if you’re pretty sure you’re going to abandon whatever project that is.
Example: I get lots of ideas for little sub-websites. For topics or products or all kinds of things. The very very first one I set up? Scary as all hell. I mean, I tried to talk myself out of beginning. And I didn’t even tell anyone about it for MONTHS. The second one? A little easier. Even if I ended up not using it for anything.
And recently? I’ve created 2 subsites that I immediately started putting content on and have linked to recently.
I know a lot of you wonder how I can put out so many ebooks and ecourses. Answer? I have practice.
The first one was, again, petrifying. The second one slightly less so. The most recent launch I did (One Year of Journaling Prompts)? I won’t say it was EASY, but I have a lot more practice in emailing contributors, setting up the product listing, writing the sales copy and doing all the things that a couple years ago would have been so scary.
I just have practice.
Now that I have practice starting big projects like that, it is far less scary and a lot easier to DO.
In order to DO – in order to get things done and be productive – you first have to start. And the easiest way to start is to simply practice.
So, this week? START something. And then make plans to start again soon.