Start before you’re ready

Upon initial review, this advice seems counterintuitive to what we have been taught all of our lives.

Growing up, we learn that “practice makes perfect.” The Boy Scout’s core motto is to “be prepared.” In our career we have to “pay our dues” and “put our best foot forward.”

Although not bad advice, I wonder if at times these messages hold us back?

As we get older, it seems we are afraid to try new things because we aren’t “ready” yet. We avoid putting ourselves “out there” because we might get criticized or laughed at, or others will see that we aren’t the best at whatever it is we are doing.

So, we fill our life with “clutter” (defined as socially acceptable ways to use our time like cleaning out the garage, but not the things we really want to be achieving like writing our book or starting that business). Clutter keeps us safe, but also gets in the way of truly living.

The more I read about great entrepreneurs, the more I realize they have a few things in common, one of which is starting before they are ready. This means being willing to feel vulnerable and endure criticism. Admittedly, being judged doesn’t feel great, but I have recently read a line that has helped me to turn it around:

“If you aren’t being criticized, you may not be doing too much.”

When I think about it like that, it motivates me to get out there and stop holding back.

So, how many opportunities do we miss because we are waiting to be perfect? What are we too afraid to do right now because it isn’t flawless, finished, exact, ideal, or just right?

There are a number of activities on my list that I have feared doing because they are outside of my comfort zone and FAR from perfect. However, life is short and this isn’t a dress rehearsal.

In the end, I will be criticized and my ideas might flop. Or perhaps I will be commended and my actions may help people. Probably
a little of both, but either way, I will have lived life on my terms, not on fear’s terms. That will be success enough for me.

“You don’t have to be great to start. But you have to start to be great.” Zig Ziglar

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