Why is it so difficult for most of us to start new things?
Like many people right now you may have too much time on your hands. You may be out of work or just unsure when the shoe will drop. How do I start something new at this point in my life? What should I do next?
Even if you are “safe” in your job, it’s a good time to assess your career and where you want to go. As an entrepreneur or CEO, perhaps your only chance to survive in this environment is to start a new project, a new line of business, or plan a new strategy based on what the market will look like in the next 6 to 12 months.
Often, we don’t start something new because the challenge of completing it is so daunting. Self-help and leadership courses will tell you to pick your goal, clearly define it, and make it measurable. Make it hard, but not impossible. Breakdown your goals into smaller tasks and steps. This is all good advice, but it doesn’t get to the core of the problem. Why is it so difficult for most of us to start new things?
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” - Mark Twain
The real answer is that it takes courage to start. We all have fears; fears of failure, fears of success, fear that we are not capable or strong enough, fears that we will be judged if we fail. We need to understand the sources of these fears and try to manage them.
My favorite quote is my own saying. “You need to have the courage of your convictions.” It’s the advice I give most people when they are afraid of moving ahead or dubious about making a hard decision. Simply put, believe in yourself and believe in the goal and the cause you have set upon.
My first Ironman triathlon at the age of 50 was a daunting goal. I trained for 12 months, but when I hit that starting line, I was nervous and had a healthy fear about what lay ahead. Truthfully, even after many more Ironman races, I still have that fear. But each time I hit the starting line; I believe in myself. I believe I will finish. The hardest challenge is just to get to the starting line and begin the race to something new. So, go ahead and start what you will finish!