It’s hard to begin.
Actually, it might be more accurate to say that it’s hard to get moving.
We’re already well into our journies by now…having begun and begun again and shifted in major ways, many times.
That’s part of how we know it’s hard.
As odd as it might sound, I’ve always drawn a lot of inspiration and motivation from Newton’s Laws of Motion, and the definition of inertia.
…clears throat professorially…
Inertia is the inherent property of a body that makes it oppose any force that would cause a change in its motion. A body at rest and a body in motion both oppose forces that might cause acceleration.
Basically, things tend to keep on as they are unless a change is forced – whether by circumstance or by choice.
It’s always helpful for me to remember that, when I’m trying to get something moving like a project or a relationship or even a basic task, sometimes a little extra oomph is required.
This is frequently on my mind as I battle the strong forces of inertia in my life, grappling with what might keep me from getting started on important endeavors…
What if it turns out terrible?
What if my voice sounds “nasally” or I look silly?
What if my camera/microphone/computer messes up?
What if my guests all cancel?
What if say/do/write the wrong thing?
What if I don’t say/do/write the right thing?
(You can perhaps tell that I do a fair amount of writing and podcasting)
Getting over the mental hurdle of those messy “beginning bumps” has often been a challenge for me, and I’m guessing for many of you, as well.
Speaking straight into the heart of this is one of my favorite illustrations, which I most recently found posted by Stephanie King on Twitter:
“Sometimes when I feel bad about a first draft I like to think about this behind-the-scenes sketch of the facehugger from Alien”
Whenever you’re about to write a new article or start a podcast or present a new keynote or launch a new course or write that first/next book…just think of this.
There’s a quote I come back to often, one that continues to deepen and broaden my understanding of…well…Life, The Universe, and Everything.
No, it’s not “42”.
But it is something that I think applies rather powerfully to the coaching biz…which usually means that I should share it with you.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing twice, the first time quick and dirty and the second time the best way you can.” – Arthur Leonard Schawlow, physicist and co-inventor of the laser.
We’re all familiar with the whole “move fast and break things” ethos that permeates the business and tech worlds. And we know how important it is to get your ideas out of your head and put them into action.
After all, an object in motion is easier to move than an object at rest.
(Newton’s Laws of Motion: not just for science!)
But I think this quote gets right to the heart of why that ethos is incomplete. Getting started is pretty dang important…there’s no journey without that first step!
But refining & perfecting as you go is just as vital to your ultimate success.
So, I guess my message is twofold:
Don’t wait to begin. Starting conditions will never be perfect.
Don’t forget to improve. Perfecting is a process, and your best ought to always be your goal.
Maybe you’re not co-inventing the laser (or maybe you are; I don’t know everything you’re up to), but the work you’re doing is tremendously valuable – to you and to those you serve.
It’s worth doing “the best way you can.”