Recently I was sent a question about what I wish I’d known when figuring out my ideas / starting to do my own thing. There were lot of things I could have said, and a lot of things I did say, but more came up after I replied.
So I’d like to share these with you.
You see, you can Google the answer to questions like ‘how do I set up a facebook page’ but there are some big picture things that matter more than any of that.
Here are 9 of the things I wish I’d known when starting out… but which no one really tells you:
1. At some point you will have a choice between following who you are and making the ‘sensible decision’. The first time this happens you will choose the latter. Some time later you will realize this was the least sensible move you could have made.
(This will not stop you making that same mistake at least once again).
2. You will decide, at some point between coming up with your idea and launching, that there is too much competition. You might be right.
3. You will find, some time after ditching your idea because of the competition, that someone else has launched this idea anyway. They seem to be doing well. You will, at this point, kick yourself.
4. You will try to create something magnificent and put your mark on the world, but early on you will look at what you have created and feel its smallness. In that moment you will wonder if anyone else notices how far wide of your mark you have fallen.
What you don’t realize is that they are too busy with their own lives to ponder yours. Are you touching them? Does what you do matter to them? Why not?
Ponder that rather than your own grand dreams and you will find that somewhere along the way your grand dreams happen anyway.
5. The people you used to spend time with? Some of them will stop understanding you. (Although in a way that’s probably ok: after all, you stopped understanding them quite a while ago. This is your cue to find a new tribe).
6. One day when you are feeling stuck someone will give you a piece of advice – or maybe an opportunity. At the time you will reject them, vehemently.
Watch out for those moments. Those are usually the moments where you heard exactly what you needed to hear, or had the chance to learn exactly what you needed to learn.
Why? Because when you are well and truly stuck, your options are restricted to what lies in your comfort zone. But your answer is not there. The road to where you want to be, at those moments, lies outside your comfort zone, and it won’t look quite like you expected (if it did you’d have found it already).
7. You will start out with two things: 1) a diary full of things that need to be done this week (your washing, that latest report, that thing for your dad) and 2) a jumbled up list of dreams in your head all labeled ‘one day’. Your breakthrough will come when you learn to sync the two.
Watch out for the opportunities to which you say ‘one day’. They are quite often the ones you need, as you are, here and now.
8. You will feel that you have a secret. A secret about your own lack of progress. About how your so-together outside doesn’t fit with the turbulent mash up of your insides.
About how you haven’t sorted this out by now and it’s just not coming together and how you just don’t know what to do and how you feel ashamed you don’t know what you want by your age.
To which I would say: please know that you are not alone in this. Right now, someone else is reading these words too. And another, and another.
They are nodding and saying ‘yes that’s me, how did she know’ and the answer is simple: while how you feel may be a secret to you, I have been through it and I have watched many others go through this same uncertainty and come out the other side.
When you poke your head out of the fog, and join others in forging a path toward your own clarity, you might well do the same.
9. Whatever the barriers, one thing is true: we live in a time with more resources (and opportunities) than at any other time in history to make something happen as you.
Even when it feels ‘sticky’, remember we have more at our fingertips to help us do this than any humans before us. What will you do with that today?
And finally: one day you will come across a list of advice, with which you may or may not resonate. You will have the chance to complete this list with a thought of your very own.
When that time comes, what will you say?