Alan Donegan: PopUp Business School Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Financially Independent Pizza Lover, Marvel Movie fan and soon to be Script Writer
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One sunny morning, 2009, I was walking from Waterloo Station, London over the bridge towards Trafalgar square. It was a stunning morning and I was listening to a CD set by Brian Tracy about goal setting. As I listened, soaking up the words, walking through the busy streets, I started to feel a feeling of depression and sadness through my body. I started to realise that I was so far from achieving my goals, so far from achieving my dreams, that I had missed the target so many times, that I didn't know if I could ever do it.
The more I listened to the positive words of encouragement the more I felt like I was so far behind in life. It felt as though it was insurmountable; that I would never be able to achieve my goals. By the time I got to my first meeting with my business mentor I had a mini-meltdown proclaiming that I was never going to be able to achieve my goals and should I give up!
The insurmountable mountain
Have you ever felt that you are so far off achieving your goals that it saps your energy and stops you from starting? Have you ever looked at where someone else has got to and wondered if you could ever achieve that? Sometimes it feels like the mountain is too big to climb.
Recently a friend recommended a television series for us to watch and then proclaimed that there was 8 seasons! I immediately had the feeling of "I am not going to bother because where am I going to find the time to watch that in my busy life!" I was put off by the size of the task in front of me and decided not to start. It might have been a good series; but I was put off by the size of the project!
This is a silly example but brings to life the feelings that sometimes come up when we start a big new project and one of the reasons you might not get going as quickly as you could. Let's look at some examples:
Sometimes when you are starting something new it feels like you have such an insurmountable mountain in front of you that it can put you off starting.
At the beginging of March 2019 I start a new project to write a movie. I remember after 3 days of reading, researching and learning I was ready to give up! It felt like it was such a big task that I was never going to be able to do it. I had a mini-meltdown over starting and nearly gave up before I had ever written a word! I found it SO SO SO hard to start writing! The more I learnt the more I realised I didn't know and that made it harder to consider starting!
When you first are starting a new project it can feel daunting and overwhelming. I understand and I feel it too. The one thing I have learnt is that if you don't start (no matter how small the step) you will never make it to the top!
Comparison and the consequences
One way to scare yourself off starting is to compare yourself to people that are really good at what you want to do.
In Croydon in 2016 at one of the PopUp Business School sessions th subject of financial independence came up and I started talking to the group about the shockingly simple maths of FI. I explained that all you needed to live off £40k every year for the rest of your life was to save up a pot of £1million.
I remember the feeling in the room changing and instead of inspiration I felt desperation and de-motivation. What had happened was that I showed them a goal that was so far on where they imagined they could get that they were put off ever starting. They started to compare where they are now to where I was telling them i was and then thinking I can never get there.
I killed the energy in that room that day and I had to work really hard to bring it back up and help the people I was working with to see a route up their mountain.
I made them (yes this is my mistake and my fault) compare their situation to mine and then made them feel bad as they felt like they could never make it there.
Comparison can be inspiring if you see someone doing something cool and then think to yourself "I could do that". Comparison can also be demotivational as you look at someone successful and say "I could NEVER do that".
The best thing to do is to compare yourself to yourself. Track where you are going and compare if you are making progress each week, month or year. A couple of examples:
Measuring yourself against yourself to see how fast you can move in the right direction is one of the best ways to motivate yourself and help yourself stay on track.
When you first start a project it can feel like you are hardly moving the needle. You work and you work and you work and nothing seems to happen. This is what leads to frustration and people giving up.
The thing I want you to hold in your mind as you start any new task is that it is the compounding effect of micro actions taken over time that creates the motion that gets you going. Let me give you some examples:
When you start a new project it can feel like you are making no progress at all. It can feel like the tiny first steps are insignificant in the scheme of things and are not worth taking.
But you have to have faith. You have to take action (however small) every day. You have to just make it happen. If you don't make it happen then no one else is going to make it happen for you.
Ways to get started...………..
You need to find the way that you can start and make progress each day. If you take action every day and them compound that over months and years it is AMAZING the progress that you make! I will write an article soon about keep momentum up. It takes a different energy and state to keep going than it does to start!
Thanks for reading and please leave me a comment so that I know what you thought of the article. Tell me whether it helped or annoyed or anything. Just let me know so I can keep writing content that helps you.
You rock. Keep on making the magic happen. It is a life long and fun journey.