Sometimes we need a little help to get started on a difficult project. The first few steps can be a real challenge, and usually this is because we worry that the project will not work, or we will not be able to implement it perfectly. How many times have we stopped, hesitated or procrastinated because we fear that something we want to do might turn out poorly?
The first step in getting started is to acknowledge your worries and to think about what might be holding you back. Common concerns about projects and tasks include:
- You do not have the resources to get the job done
- You do not have the skills/knowledge to get the job done
- The project will take time away from other priorities
- The work isn’t necessary, or is a bad idea
- Politics with your manager and other stakeholders
- Badly scoped or badly delegated tasks
- Your team doesn’t support the project in its current form
- You will not get recognised for successful implementation
To help you move forwards, create lists of answers to these two questions:
- What are your current hesitations?
- What are you waiting for?
By thinking about your concerns you have already started the initial mental process that will help you to get going.
“Nothing would be done at all if we waited until we could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.”
John Henry Newman, Theologian
Rather than seeking perfection, it is better to recognise that we will learn as we go, especially when trying something new. Think about setting off for your regular exercise or gym session – you are not guaranteed success but, because you are experienced in keep-fit, you know you can manage. But with new projects we must make a start: if we always waited for experience nothing new would ever happen and we would achieve nothing.
Is that what you really want?
On a new task or project treat any set-backs as an opportunity to learn. As you move towards your goal, see an obstacle as high quality information about what doesn’t work yet. Find a way around it, under it, over it, through it or behind it, and create a new path towards the goal. Even the best strategies, plans and approaches can be revised. Or start on a new goal that motivates you even more.
Some people advise that the fastest way to learn is by making mistakes. You’ll remember more vividly and make better choices after you’ve fallen down, been rejected, or got things wrong. Dare to make as many small mistakes as you can. This will shift your fear and release your energy to get going and succeed.
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