Tweet about it here: When you don’t know where to start, start anyway @simasays #cocktailnapkinquote #personalbrands #swayfactor

Tomorrow I will give the last speech required to earn my Distinguished Toastmasters Awards (DTM.) It’s a long road – applicants give 40 speeches, serve as a Club leader, a District leader, a mentor and more.

But it’s a well-charted road. Members start with a short ice-breaker and all subsequent speeches are detailed in How To manuals. There is a website rich with information and tips, YouTube video examples numbering in the thousands, and an international community of supportive Toastmasters spanning the globe.

You Are Here

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of life’s goals came with a How To manual like that? Imagine if your wildest dream came with a map marked ‘You Are Here’ and where each next step was outlined in detail. But few goals do, especially the big hairy ones that take you way out of your comfort zone, off the beaten path, and onto roads less traveled.

Most of us have big hairy goals, like changing careers, running a marathon, going back to school, starting a non-profit… Mine is to finish my book – the one I promised would be done a few years back.
These are not small initiatives yet people achieve these very same feats every day. So what holds the rest of us back?

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

For me it usually comes down to FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. And as ridiculous as it is in hindsight, FUD is paralyzing in the moment.

I had a call yesterday with a fellow speaker and coach on how she might best use social media to grow her business. She was in a state of mild overwhelm, focused on what she can’t do in the future rather than what she might do now. She thanked me for helping her get clarity, and then as it often happens with like-minded people, she helped me do the same.

In discussing my unfinished book she reminded me that every time I capture a story, an anecdote or an idea for the book, that actually counts as working on the book. And in that moment I felt a shift. My thought pattern went from “where do I start?” to “I already have.” It’s subtle, but powerful. And freeing. And it occurred to me when tackling big hairy goals, just being in motion builds momentum. The finish line draws near.

Start Anyway

What goal do you want to dust off? What can you do to get in motion? When you don’t know where to start, any place you start is the beginning.

And taking the first step is in fact the only way to get there.