“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” — George Herbert
For a long time, I thought about starting this blog. I mulled the idea in my mind. I chewed it ceaselessly. I envisioned the perfect design and the ideal content. I thought about my lead magnet and how I would structure the offers and sales funnels and the core marketing message. And as I thought about all these things, I felt a sense of overwhelm. There were so many parts and pieces that I had to address. How could I ever get it just right?
When I think about that feeling, I think about this quote from George Herbert. Herbert says, do not wait because the time will never be just right. Start where you stand and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. The truth is that the time would never be perfect for me to start this blog, which has reached an audience in the millions.
But when I started, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have all the pieces of the proverbial puzzle in place. I felt lost and confused. And when I did launch, no one came. I watched as one or two visitors showed up sporadically in a day. ‘The time wasn’t right,’ I thought. ‘Maybe I should shut it down?’ How was I going to find visitors? Who was going to consume my content? My design was awful. Nobody was reading my posts.
I could go on and on. The fact is that I wasn’t prepared and the time wasn’t just right. But it never will be. But something happens when you start. Something occurs in the mind, and an evolution of ideas and actions begin to unfold. It’s a remarkable and miraculous series of events that leads you silently towards the so-called promise land. Had I not launched, I would still be thinking about it and mulling the idea around in my mind.
Do Not Wait For The Time To Be Just Right
The time will never be just right. It just won’t. No matter how many of the checkboxes you’ve ticked off, you won’t have all the stars aligned. You just won’t. So why wait? Why hesitate for another moment? When I think about this blog, I realize how true those words are. There’s something to be said about just pushing forward, even through the tough times where you feel uncomfortable about doing something.
But I know the feeling of being stricken with the fear of doing anything new. When I started my podcast, Business Secrets, I had thought about it and delayed it for years. I knew I had to do it. I just couldn’t start it for some reason. However, slowly but surely, I built up steam. Over time, I’ve also gotten much better at podcasting. But I had to start somewhere. I had to begin at some point and I knew it was never going to be perfect or the right time to do it.
However, all too often, we wait for the perfect time to do things. Not just business related. I’m also talking about anything related to our habits our goals and our dreams. We wait until the time is right. And we hinge our happiness on it. That’s no way to live. Because, nothing is going to make you happy. Happiness comes from within. So, don’t wait. Go out there and do it. Find the one thing you’ve been putting off the longest and go and do that one thing.
The Micro-Changes Approach
One of my secret weapons to doing things is what I like to call the micro-changes approach. It doesn’t matter what you want to do. Whether you want to lose weight, meet your ideal spouse or partner, make more money, invest, and so on, this works across the board. In fact, I’ve used this very approach to do a myriad of things that I had once put off. The truth is that procrastination is the silent and deadly killer. It will rob you of your dreams if you let it.
You have to look at procrastination like a hurdle or a roadblock. How do you find your way around it? How do you circumnavigate something that’s so persistent in all of our lives that it frustrates and infuriates us at nearly every bend and turn? The micro-changes approach. That’s how. The best part? It’s simply and so effective that once you instill this into your life, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Want to know how it works? Well, let me explain. First, to understand the basis of this, you have to understand how habits work. Nearly everything that we do in a given day is habit-driven. In fact, studies suggest it takes up 45% of human behavior. My friend, John Assaraf seems to think it’s closer to 85%-95%. Either way you look at it, that’s high. Incredibly high, in fact. If so much of our thoughts and emotions and actions are driven by habit, how do we overcome things that hold us back?
When you think about the quote, do not wait, the time will never be right, you have to understand that George Herbert was really referring to the fact that we tend to procrastinate. We don’t seize the day. We wait for the right day. And that won’t get you very far. So the micro-changes approach comes in by literally picking something that’s too small to fail at. That means you don’t start by saying you’re going to lose 100 pounds by the summer or make $10 million by the end of the year.
Yes, those might be your goals, but to get there, you have to start small. Since our bad habits hold us back, you have to build new ones with the micro-changes approach. So, all you have to do is decide to walk around the block once every single day, for example if you have a weight loss goal. But you have to be consistent. Why around the block once? Because it’s too small to fail at. But when you do it every day, you build momentum.
If you want to start a business or invest, you have to start small. Put $1 away per day but do it every day. Or write 200 words of a business plan every single day but be consistent. It sounds weird. I know. But it works. It’s because of momentum and also breaking the bad habit of procrastination. You start somewhere small. Don’t worry about the enormity of the goal and do not wait for the time to be ‘just right’ because it never will be.
Overcoming The Fear Of Failure
Something that has held me back in life in the past is the fear of failure. Worrying about what other people think is literally one of the biggest fears that so many of us have. What will others think if we fail? But the truth is that other people’s opinions of you don’t matter. As much as most of us think they do, they simply don’t matter. It’s just our egos hard at work trying to make ourselves look good in front of other people.
The micro-changes approach can definitely help you break the bad habit of procrastination. But it won’t help you overcome the fear of failure. To push past that, you really have to dig deep. You have to set goals the right way and ensure that you find deep meaning to them. The truth is this. If you set a goal with enough meaning behind it, then you’ll do anything to overcome the things that hold you back. Even the fear of failure.
But you have to write it down. Studies confirm that you can’t set goals in your mind. When you do that, they stay in the abstract and they don’t materialize. In fact, the best way to set goals is to write it down by hand. Even typing it isn’t as meaningful. Actually take the time to painstakingly write the words and the meaning you associate with those goals. Dig deep. 7-layers deep, if you will. Because, you won’t find the true meaning in your head. It has to come from your heart.
When you find deep-enough reasons to achieve big goals, nothing will stand in your way. Not procrastination. Not the fear of failure. Nothing. And you’ll realize that there’s no time to wait and that the time truly will never be just right. But without finding that meaning, you’ll find it difficult to overcome both the fear of failure and procrastination. So just start somewhere. Set big goals but also start with actions that are too small too fail at. That’s the key. The trick, if you will.
The Time Is Now
I have a friend, Kent Clothier, who often says that the time is now. The time is now to pursue your dreams. Not tomorrow. Not two weeks from now. Not next month. Now. And that echos a lot of what Herbert meant with his quote. It also echos another saying we hear a lot that talks about the best time to plant trees. In fact, it’s an old Chinese proverb. It says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
We spend too much of our lives waiting around for something to happen before we can do something. It’s as if we’re waiting for permission from some event. That’s not the way it works. You have my permission to start now. In this moment. Before you do anything else, just begin. It will feel slow. It will feel painful. It will scream against every last fiber in your being and you’ll probably want to give up many times along the way.
However, when you start and you keep going, your momentum replaces that nagging voice in your mind. Small wins along the way help you to reach your goals. Why do you think in Alcoholics Anonymous they say that you should take it one day at a time? It’s because drinking is so habitual and so ingrained in your mind and your body, that thinking about quitting is just such an enormous goal that goes against everything you’ve been doing for years or even decades.
But when you only think about today or this moment, it’s easier to manage. In fact, one day at a time is a goal that’s too small to fail at. It’s today. Not tomorrow. You’re not talking about months or years or decades. Just today. Right now. This day. It’s too small to fail. Just like walking around the block once or saving a dollar a day. Those goals are all too small to fail at. So why not try it? All discipline starts with doing something small and builds up over time.