"The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now."
One of the most frequent questions I get is "When do I start?"
My answer is very simple. NOW.
Not because it is January 1st (because by the time you read this, it's probably not.) Not because it's a Monday. It's because it's TODAY, and today is the only day that's guaranteed.
Whether you are a high school student or a middle-aged employee, the right time to start that project, hobby, business, idea. . . was actually yesterday. But since you can't do that, the next best thing is NOW.
1. You Will Never Feel Ready
You will never have all the skills, all the knowledge, or all the resources in the world. But you will have exactly what you need to start. There is always more to learn. Learning is infinite, so if you wait until you've learned everything there is to know, you will never start. Plus, if you give yourself too much time to think about it, the chatterbox between your ears will try to distract you with the million reasons you can't, shouldn't, won't do what you know you need to do. So just cut to the chase. Don't prepare. Just start.
2. Action Breeds Confidence
Good things happen when we start before we're ready. Fear feeds off inaction. But action crushes fear and breeds confidence. Don't start when you feel confident; start in order to feel confident. Courage begets courage. And somehow, the moment you definitely commit yourself to your vision, Providence becomes your ally. In the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." So don't wait. Start now.
3. Circumstances Will Never Be Perfect
Let's face it, there is never a good time to be uncomfortable. To take the leap. To push yourself to excruciating limits just to squeeze your best self out of your complacent shell. We are all busy. We all have a million inconvenient circumstances in our way. But guess what? It will only get crazier. You have to act despite those inconveniences. An old proverb explains, "whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever observes the clouds will not reap." If you always wait for the perfect circumstances to start, you never will. You are busy today. And you will be busier tomorrow.
4. You Have Exactly What You Need
Don't focus on what you don't have; focus on what you do. If you're waiting for more resources to start, don't. It's not your lack of resources that's stopping you. It's your lack of resourcefulness. Acting without "enough" will teach you lessons in creativity, problem solving, and innovation that you would never learn if you act with all the resources in the world. In the wise words of Dr. Suess, "You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!" As long as you have an idea, creative thinking, and killer work ethic, you have everything you need. You will never have enough money, enough time, enough anything to complete the final product. But you have enough to start, and to take the next step. Once you take the step, the resources you need will appear as you need them, just like a scavenger hunt where your next step is revealed only when you complete the one before. But for now, trust me when I tell you, you have everything you need. Just identify them, and use them, and leverage them so you can take the next step. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
5. You Will Regret If You Don't
One year from now, you will look back and wish you had started today. And in twenty years, you will be more disappointed by all the things you did not do, the places you did not see, and the risks you did not take. Research shows that life's biggest regrets do not stem from actions, but from inaction. Don't set yourself up for regret. You will feel more alive by trying and failing, then by wishing and wondering.
7. Tomorrow Never Comes
You only have today. And what you do today determines who you become tomorrow. Don't think about what can happen in a month. Don't think about what can happen in a year. Focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do everything you can to get closer to where you want to be. If you don't think there's anything you can do today, then you're simply not ready to succeed. But once you start seeing all the opportunities around you, you'll wish you had more hours in your today.
8. You CAN Do It!
If you have the creativity to dream it, you have the capacity to achieve it. Respect yourself enough to trust that it can be done, and YOU are the one to do it. Just remember, you are the younger version of the successful person you were born to be. So get out there, and let today be the start of something amazing.
The Moral of The Story: Start scared. Start before you're ready. Start NOW.