So here’s some starter steps to doing bold things.
At the top level…
- Dream Big
- With high goals comes high risk
- Things will go wrong
So, you’ve got a big dream… now what? Break that dream into manageable pieces. Vision drives activity so put that first manageable piece, that “focus” into writing. You want to reach a singleness of purpose, because that singleness drives simplicity into the project. Forget failures, forget past mistakes, only think about what you want now. Only work on prioritized activities. Once you’ve got your “singleness” together, prioritize your actions and use those as a guide. Otherwise the wandering and yak shaving will drive progress out of your dream.
Because you could well be risking a lot to make this big dream come true, don’t take any uncalculated risks. Accepting risk will be part of doing bold things, but you can manage the risk you own by preparing. Two things dramatically reduce risk. Preparation and specificity of practice. Practice what you need to prepare for the task at hand. Practice to feel confident that you can handle many emergent situations. Be aware that your adaptations and experience maybe wrong. People tend to rehearse rather than practice. Rehearsing is repeating and refining. Practicing is developing new skills which are often the things you’re *not* good at! Don’t waffle around, practice the specific things at which you are worst. Expert resources shorten learning, so by all means seek out experts to help you get in the groove sooner, or to explain adaptations that you never considered (differing experiences).
Things will go wrong. You’ll balance and juggle, and dodge a few bullets as the saying goes, but sooner or later the big one is going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it (before it happens). When it does defer decision making until the last possible moment — you’ll have the most knowledge. The critical step is to decide “when” is the last moment. Once you decided when “when” is, do not hesitate when it arrives. It’s time for action! Rethinking “when” (rather than fine tuning it) could simply stall the entire affair until the clock runs out. Lastly, make decisions at the lowest possible level (respect people.) It’s easy to convince yourself that no one has any insight but yourself or the couple of folks you interact with all the time. It’s rarely true. People at every level can have the insight to provide the solution or resolution you need.
A corollary to things will go wrong is pain is temporary. Sometimes when things go wrong they hurt. A lot. It can certainly make you rethink what you’re doing, and whether you ought to be doing it. It’s almost always the wrong time to make that decision. Wait until the pain eases. You can only quit once. It might be the right thing to do, but it’s a one trick pony.
Sales people will tell you that “No” means “Not yet”. It’s a very wise piece of advice in many cases. Timing is critical for ideas and products to grab hold. Whether at the individual level or the broader market. You can always learn something from the folks who are saying no, about why, when, and what is working for them etc. that will probably improve your situation down the road.
Teams outperform individuals in many ways. Teams are far more resilient when things go wrong with an elastic strength that moves projects along when individuals run out of steam. Individual success is a team function in almost every case. To think otherwise is self centered, and usually incorrect.
Yesterday’s challenges are today’s norms. Once things thought impossible are now every day, ho hum occurrences. Expect that growth as part of your work.
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