It's not that your idea was bad or you ran out of money. It's not even that you couldn't find a customer or grow quickly enough. It's not that the universe hates you or life isn't fair.
You didn't make it happen because you never started.
The leaders and entrepreneurs who make stuff happen make sure to start. They don't stop at ideation; they leap from that to action as quickly as possible. In fact, here are the six steps anyone who has ever done anything awesome follows:
- They write down a goal.
- They set a deadline.
- They get to work.
- They evaluate how they're doing.
- They make any necessary changes.
- They repeat all these steps until they finish.
Voila. No magic tricks. No shortcuts. No online course for $99.99. Just a step in the right direction. (And in the case of starting, any direction is the right direction.)
Two quick recent examples from my life:
I've got three pals who are speakers. We want to speak more to corporate audiences. We'd love a day where our corporate (professional, association, etc.) speaking opportunities balance out our college and student ones. That's where we want to go. So what steps are we taking to get there?
First off, we set a date to all hop on a call together. We made plans. We blocked time. And we talked. We listened. We encouraged and challenged. We left with an action item that we each have a month to complete and bring back to the group.
That's movement. That's starting. One day, when each of us has a slate of speaking opportunities that don't exist now, it'll be because we started with a call at 5:00 PM on Monday, July 28th, 2014.
Second example: The good people at Jabra sent me some headphones to review (and write about). They mailed them over to me. I gave them a whirl. I now use them for conference calls and to listen to music while I work without disturbing others in my office. They're super handy.
I also took them on a recent flight. They worked like a charm without all the wires getting tangled up or getting in my way. They're probably the best travel headphones I've used. For real.
But the point isn't that I got free headphones. It's that the only way I ever get free headphones ever is because ten years ago I started blogging.
That's right - a decade of writing. (I've gotten more out of this than a sweet pair of Jabra headphones, rest assured.)
But I don't get to the milestone of 10 years unless I write a very first post. And then a second. And a third. You get the picture.
So here's the deal: I want to know how you're starting. I don't need to know your big plans or your exit strategy. I don't need to know what your dream is or how your invention will alter the course of human history. I just want to know how you're starting.
And yes, I want to you leave a comment. Old-school style like people used to do on blogs a hundred years ago. I want you to signify your start by doing the hard work of typing something as a comment below.
So tell me how you're starting. And to sweeten the pot, I'll pick one comment at random and the kind people over at Jabra will send you some sweet headphones, too, so you can start whatever it is you're dreaming.
Drop your idea for starting by Friday, and I'll pick one of you ambitious, awesome people as the lucky winner.
But you don't win (anything, not just headphones) if you don't start the game.