You’ll see that a lot of the advice that I share is encouraging you to take a first step, to start something off or to build momentum. Why does this keep coming up as a consistent theme, and what are times it’s not a great plan of action?
The majority of the time, it’s easier not to start. You can build and refine plans making them better each time you consider them again. You can find ways to fail and think about all the things that could go wrong. You can convince yourself that now is not the right time, that the situation needs to be perfect before doing something.
This analysis-paralysis can be common in high achievers. If you want to project an image of perfection or excellence, then you might tend towards not moving until you are certain of a perfect outcome.
In practice, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities, or spend massive amounts of time gilding lilies that will never be seen by anyone else. By finding a first step, you can start learning. Your ideas collide with the real world, you find out what’s important and you find out what’s chaff.
You might need to get more comfortable hearing “no”, or “not like that”, but that’s actually great feedback on your small investment of time, and it’s building buy-in to the future direction. People are more invested in something that they’ve had input into, so that is priceless value for the cost of taking on a bit of feedback.
Going early gets things done, so when do you not want to do that?
- There’s no goal – It’s no good going if you don’t know where you are aiming to get to first
- It’s too early into detail – There’s a classic saying in tech circles “We spent twelve weeks coding to save a week on design”. Great action focus and feeling of progress, but too soon to the detail!
- It’ll take you the wrong direction – It’s expected that you’ll make your first steps imperfectly, but don’t actively go in the wrong direction.
Once you’ve confirmed you aren’t making these mistakes, then it’s go go go!