How many things have you pushed to the side simply because you can’t figure out the first step? We all do it and we use that not knowing as an excuse to never start.
I know because that’s exactly what I did. When I first started this business, I literally had no idea where to even start. I joke that I’m kind of making it up as I go, and I truly am. But I didn’t even know where to start. I had to figure it out, like you do with everything new you’re doing in your life, right?
Let’s talk about the mindset and process I use when I literally have no clue how to start but I absolutely need to figure it out.
Sitting there telling yourself that you just don’t know how to get started will leave you spinning, and well, not starting.
You need a strategy, a tip, a hack, something to get started.
So here’s how I get myself out of the spinning and actually start.
Start with a resourcefulness mindset.
The first thing you need to do when you’re stepping into something you have no idea how to do is to create an identity around the fact that you are a resourceful person. We have to start with the mindset, right? To paraphrase a quote from Tony Robbins:
Did you hear that? I think it’s a good distinction.
A lack of resources is never what’s holding you back; it’s a lack of resourcefulness. You can literally figure anything out if you put your mind to it. I firmly believe that.
Truly believing that I am a resourceful person and making that part of my identity has served me very well over the years. And it isn’t something that I just tell myself. I know I’m a resourceful person because I have a track record of figuring things out.
For instance, I didn’t have any idea how to start a business a decade ago, but with lots of trial and error, I figured it out. I don’t know how to write, publish or promote a book, but I am figuring it out.
You are resourceful, too. And if you don’t believe me, I want you to go back right now and think about times where you figured something out that you had no idea how to do. You are resourceful. You just might not identify with that yet. But I want you to look for evidence everywhere that you have figured things out that you had no idea how to do in the beginning. I bet you’ll come up with a laundry list of things.
And if you’re having a hard time, don’t overcomplicate it. Here’s some questions. I’m going to make it really simple.
- Did you learn how to do something as a kid that you never knew how to do? Let’s talk about tying your shoes. You watched your older sibling or friends do it? You practiced? You asked your parents for help?
- Did you ever learn to ride a bike when you were really young? How did you figure that out? Did you watch other kids? Was your mom or dad trailing behind you? .
- Let’s move into present day things you’ve figured out. How did you figure out how to refinish that table?. Did you watch a YouTube Video or take a class? You had no idea there were so many different finishes and colors to choose from. You had no idea what tools you needed. You had no idea how to do that but you figured it out.
These are all examples of being resourceful. I think you’ve been way more resourceful than you think you’ve been. At this point, the more you do new things in your life, the more you develop that muscle and the easier it will become to take on new challenges with confidence. So you have to look for that track record. You have one. You already have one. That’s the proof that you can figure anything out.
The second thing I do when I have no idea what I’m doing—drum roll, please—I break it up into small segments or phases.
I have to take baby steps, especially when I’m coming out of my skin and so uncomfortable.
For example, with writing, publishing and promoting a book, the first step for me is reaching out, who’s doing what I want to be doing? Who would be willing to give me advice? If I can’t talk to them then I research anything I can find on-line about their book launch journey. And when I did that it led me to a publisher that teaches this to budding authors.
Now, I’ve started. Now I can take direction from a real life publishing company. Wow!
So I’m just breaking it up. I can’t possibly implement everything I’m learning. But I can take little steps. I might not know what the whole process looks like and that’s okay. I only need to know what’s my step today. So I’m not doing everything at once, because if I do, I could literally overwhelm myself to the point that I am not doing anything.
Then, from there, here’s what I do: I start to put together a plan. It’s a loose plan.
And at this point, I’m making educated guesses. I don’t know exactly if this is right, but I’ve taken the advice, I’ve done my research online, and made educated guesses. I literally write down the specific actions that I’m going to take, and then, I get into action.
I’ll tell you this right now, and this is so incredibly important. The only way to get clarity on something is if you get into action. The only way you’re going to get true answers and results is to do it. At some point stop asking all the questions. Stop asking for advice. Stop the research. At some point, you’ve got to just do it.
Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “But, Carlene, you’re oversimplifying this. Doing something brand new that you’ve never done before that you know nothing about, that’s scary. So you’re just telling me, ‘Just go do it.’ That seems unrealistic or unreasonable.”
If you want to do this thing, whatever that is for you, you have to get unreasonable.
Reasonable people don’t ever do the darn thing.
So I’m saying at this point, you’ve got to cut bait, and say, “Well, I’m going to try something. I’m going to take that first small step and I’m going to make my way through this, even though I don’t know if it’s going to work.”
I listened to an interview with Marie Forleo, and she said something that has stuck with me to this day. She says, “I don’t do overwhelm. Instead, I get resourceful.” I thought, “Whoa, that is so good.” So how about if you said, “I’m not going to allow myself to sit in confusion; I’m just going to get resourceful. I’m going to see what happens. I’m going to get into action.”
And what happens is every time I take a new action, it leads me to another thing, another action, or a new decision. Clarity comes with each step I take, and it gets easier as I get going. And remember, action creates momentum, which is so crucial in accomplishing anything you set your mind to.
So that is how I mentally approach doing new things that I have no idea how to do, and I break it down so the process isn’t so overwhelming.
To wrap this up, I want to leave you with a little homework.
Take out a journal, open up a Google Doc, or the Notes page on your phone. List out five things that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t, simply because you don’t know how to do them.
Let’s dream big here. Let’s get lofty. I want you to write down what you want. And then, in big letters below your list, I want you to write,
“I’m resourceful. I can figure this out. I’m willing to make the mistakes.”
You’ve got this. Remember, you don’t even know how good it can get. I want you to write that.
“I don’t even know how good it can get, but I’m willing to find out. I’m excited to find out.”
If you want it bad enough, you will figure it out. If not, you will keep making excuses. I hope this inspires you to adopt a resourcefulness mindset and get those things that you so deserve in your life.