Start by starting. How to turn your blurry idea into a tangible project to be proud of
When it comes to starting something new, taking the first step is should be the easiest part. We are still full of energy, expectations, enthusiasm and we don't have a clue jet about how difficult it will really be, to turn that little spark in our mind in something happening in the real, material world. But why is than so difficult, for most of us, to get that foot moving for the first time?
Probably, because that one move means much more than the physical and psychological effort to make it: it is a commitment. With ourselves, first, and than with the world around us. That first step marks also the moment in which you start putting something to loose on the table. In brief, you are starting to bet your time, capacities and self-esteem.
That first step marks also the moment when you start putting something to loose on the table: you are betting your time, capacities and self-esteem.
There is a quote by a lady who I admire, the actress Maryl Streep, saying that you should 'Start by starting'. Simple as it is, it is just true. We often do procrastinate the beginning of a personal or professional project because, overwhelmed by its complexity, we don't know where to start. In fact, there is no right first move to get things done, there are just moves that put you in motion. Maybe some paths will get you there faster, some wit less expenses, but you will be able to determine that only afterwards. Waiting for the mythical right moment is actually just a weak excuse to remain exactly where you are.
It is not completely our fault though. We are not lazy, or coward. That is how we are wired, our whole evolutionary path took great care to preserve this primordial tendency of our brain to keep us away from change. Because change can be potentially dangerous and the only thing that matters when you are a fragile creature in a fierce and wild environment, is to stay alive by keeping yourself away from extravagant and unnecessary digressions. But man has always been different from other species and it is in fact his willingness to trade safety for excitement and discovery, that allowed him to beat biology. Most of the time.
We are not lazy, or coward. That is how we are wired, our whole evolutionary path took great care to preserve this primordial tendency of our brain to keep us away from change.
When I first started to think about a children's book with real miniature scenes instead of illustrations, little did I know about photography, editing, formatting, rendering, Amazon distribution fees (and its complex requirements that goes beyond that of a University enrollment), video editing, eligibility on Kickstarter and groups of children's books authors and illustrators on Facebook. And actually, that is probably the only reason I started at all. But with every little step I did, I added something to the list of hardly conquered advancements that I could loose if I stopped moving forward.
Mel Robbins explains it perfectly: you have just 5 seconds to beat your brain in the survival game and get out of your comfort zone to turn your impulse into an action. And, when it comes to starting a new project, this action is not necessarily to buy your domain name for that blog that you keep thinking about, or book violin lessons for the next 6 months, or quit your job and make life-changing decisions. It is much simpler than that.
We as human beings, are highly ritual creatures and we need strong anchors in our memory to give the right value to the turning points in our lives. Have you decided, committing with yourself, that is finally the moment to bring to reality the idea you have been cuddling for so long? Well, congratulations. You are already better off than the majority of the people out there. Now, it is your duty to make this commitment a memory, a special place where to go back in difficult times (and believe me, there will be many). Make this first step a happening inside you, you have finally allowed yourself to move towards your goals. This is something that needs to be celebrated.
Make this first step a happening inside you, you have finally allowed yourself to move towards your goals.
What has been my special moment? Not crafting my first bunny character, nor starting to build my own website. Not even the firs line of the story I wrote or the first post on Instagram, anxiously waiting for the feedback of the public. No, my first move was to clean my house. Thoroughly. Buying boxes and ordering my drawers and crafts supplies. Cleaning windows and putting on fresh curtains. Paying all the bills and archiving all my documents. It was the 21st of August 2018 and I started to bring to life my book by decluttering my apartment and my life.
Today, nearly one year later, I am almost there to launch my Kickstarter campaign and discover if all the appreciation received in those months will actually turn into a real support. Regardless of the final result of this single project, what I have gained from this experience is the absolute awareness that big challenges are nothing more than several doable tasks put together.
Start moving towards your goals, take control of your instinct to remain still.