Do you ever feel like you have a great idea but just have no idea where to start? I run into this problem a lot because most of the things that I want to do with my life are off the beaten path. Now “off the beaten path” sounds fun and adventurous right?…but truthfully it’s flippin’ scary.
It means you have no map, no degree plan, no idea where to begin. I feel like so many of us feel drawn to “do our own thing” yet lack the courage to jump out there, because it means figuring out what to do, and messing up a lot along the way. Those are valid concerns.
I am in school and I feel like that is a small part of my map, but there are many, many other things that I want to do that go beyond that piece of paper I’m working on.
Here are a few things that have helped me create my own map. Most of this has come from books, audios, etc. Of course I am still learning so much everyday, but these tips have been a game changer for me.
1) Learn. Constantly.
I think submersing yourself in books is the most productive thing you can do. I read every morning and listen to about 1 audio book a week. Most of these books consist of subject matters in my field (mental health, positive thinking, leadership, business, creativity, etc). The more I listen the more confidence I gain in walking into the “unknown”. I think out of any habit I have this is one of the most important. You have to work on your mind before you work on anything else. Can’t skip that step.
2) Build a platform.
Even if you have no product. This might sound kind of strange, because we have the opposite instinct. We think we need to have everything in place and then reach out. However building a platform takes a LONG time. So if you work to build it, while you are developing your idea/business you have people to launch your product/idea to once its ready. Example: If you are wanting to start a business selling buttons (I just watched Benjamin Button last night so buttons are on my mind!) then why not start a twitter account, and build your following based on facts about buttons? (exciting right?) Or if you are interested in consulting, why not launch a blog and document your journey? Start building your following NOW so one day you will have ears that are already ready to listen to you when you are ready to begin. Building an audience takes time. Don’t waste another minute.
3) Be consistent.
For heavens sake.
This one I think frustrates me the most. If you are working towards your plan, and have a few small steps in place (I will build a following, I will blog, I will meet with my mentor…etc, etc)
Then do it. Consistently.
Great ideas and breakthroughs don’t happen without first building and following through with daily habits. The grind…..get use to it.
4) Ask for help.
This is hard. Especially for me. I don’t know anyone personally who is doing exactly what I want to do. However, I know a lot of people who know something that I could use, and it’s worth taking time out to hear what they have to say. People are extremely flattered when you ask for their input, and this gives you more people in your corner to support you in the end. Win/win.
5) Throw a dart in the dark.
If you have absolutely NO IDEA where to begin then throw a dart. Yes. Chunk it in the dark, and follow it wherever it lands. Of course logic tells you that this will not work, and will waste your time and resources….but that can be nothing further than the truth. Make an educated guess about something you could possibly do, and even if it sounds crazy, do it. Immediately.
Why this is important is it helps you start your map. Usually that first step won’t work out the way you think it will, but it will give you something to work with and cause you to start thinking in steps. You never know when you are exploring this….that you will find that. It’s all in the willingness to explore.
6) Throw your hat over the fence.
I heard an analogy once about a young boy who wanted to follow through with a dare from his friends to confront a big dog that was on the other side of his neighbors fence. The boy threw his hat over the fence. If he did not bring his hat home, his mom would have his butt. By throwing his hat over the fence, he had to make the leap, he had to face his fears. He left no other option.
We have to do that. We have to burn our ship, throw our hat over the fence, …take irreversible chances. That’s where you really see your true commitment.
7) Tackle the big things.
We kinda avoid the big things by busying ourselves with a bunch of busy work don’t we? But that wont get us anywhere but some temporary spurts of dopamine, fooling ourselves that we are following our dream….when we are really avoiding it. A great book about this is “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. Tackle the big things if you want to get somewhere.
8) Believe in your map. Love your map…..;)
If you have one step on your map, be committed to that step. Believe that step is the shinizzle. I really believe its the confidence and force that you tackle projects that will lead you to your map. In trying, with your WHOLE HEART you will stumble (maybe tripping and falling) into your success. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to get a little messy to see this happen.
I could go on and on. But these are a few steps that I have taken and ran with, in developing my map. Is it hard taking the “unbeaten path”? Yup. But not having a plan is more common than you may think, so it’s not a good excuse…it’s a good reason to get to work.