The first step is recognising what’s holding you back, the next is implementing these simple hacks to make progress.
Many of us come up with that big idea that we think will change our lives but never follow through. This usually happens at the beginning of the year when you’re fed up with your job and look ahead at the next 12 month slog (with an eye on your summer holidays). You make a promise to yourself that this year will be different and visualise yourself richer, more famous, happier or more purpose driven. And begin creating a long list of goals that will help you build your multi-billion dollar business.
But before January’s even over, those Post-It notes describing your big idea have conveniently gone missing. You’ve abandoned your big dream before it even saw the light of day.
You don’t want to get to the end of year yet again and say, “what did I really change this year?”
So why not start now and give yourself a fair chance at doing something big and meaningful during 2016?
Below are some common pitfalls you may experience in the road ahead, and some suggestions to overcome what’s holding you back so you can start to action your dreams before it’s too late.
Common pitfall number 1: You haven’t started
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”
If your idea is huge and world changing then the thought of trying to tackle it is overwhelming. How do you think you’ll ever get there? Where to begin? What if I fail? Ignore that doubt and instead focus on the weekly or daily action that’s going to get you moving.
How to fix it: Break down your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) so that you can identify the first small step that will take you in the right direction. Turn the massive mission into an initial set of smaller accomplishments that you can achieve daily or weekly. The small wins will give you the motivation to keep going and before you know it, you’ll be a lot closer to where you want to be.
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Common pitfall number 2: You’ve had a setback
Push through that valley of despair
We all start working on our idea filled with “uninformed optimism”. The road seems clear and it’s hard to see potential obstacles. So when we receive early criticism and start experiencing doubt, we throw in the towel and think “that was stupid dream anyway”.
How to fix it: Do a project pre-mortem. Try to list out every terrible thing that can happen. It’s crazy. But by doing this worst-case-scenario planning you feel less overwhelmed by how daunting the task is. You’re able to preplan for disaster and course correct when you hit problems. You will feel empowered and any hesitation to really go for it will be reduced. You already identified all the things that can go wrong. Most of the time, there’s no real disaster waiting to happen that you can’t overcome.
Common pitfall number 3: You tried doing too many things at once
Us entrepreneur types can be very impatient. We’re hungry for success and want everything to happen yesterday. If you’re not realistic about the amount of work you can actually do, your motivation can plummet across the board. Don’t start hating yourself because you’re not Steve Jobs already.
How to fix it: Pace yourself and carve your long-term plan into 2-week sprints. If one of your goals is to talk to potential customers , take 2 weeks to focus on that. Plan out those two weeks so you can improve and refine your interview technique. During those 2 weeks of pure focus you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished your goal. Don’t beat yourself up over not being able to push forward other areas of your idea. Your next 2-week sprint can focus on one of those. After a couple of cycles you’ll have built up your confidence and feel more accomplished and empowered. Focus is key.
Common pitfall number 4: You didn’t think big enough
Or you’re not giving yourself permission to dream big.
True, in order to achieve your dream you need to take small steps and create daily habits of doing. But if your BHAG doesn’t get you excited then you won’t stay motivated to plug away at those small actions.
You will much more likely achieve success if your vision is aligned with your values, beliefs and ambition. Define what success looks like to you and work at it.
How to fix it: Think about the “so what” of your startup dream. If you achieve your vision what will it really mean to you? Your dream should be wildly optimistic and over the top. And it should also make you feel alive. Don’t chase the wrong dream. Define what success means to you and what is important. Don’t be blinded by dollar signs and potential fame.
Common pitfall number 5: You’re not having fun
If the process of achieving your dream makes you miserable then you probably won’t stick to your commitment to reach it.
Make the journey as important as the destination.
How to fix it: It’s all about continuous progress and feeling connected. Doing things alone can be hard. Not feeling a regular sense of achievement can be hard. Particularly when things are tough you need to find the people, the lessons and the small milestones that help you stick to it. Get a buddy, find a tribe, remember to reward yourself, and chase a dream that will make your sacrifices worth it.
It’s harder to get something if you don’t know what it is.
If the dream is important enough to you then it’s never too late to start! Give your idea a fair chance this year. The small things you do matters.