Feb 20, 2010

If You Are Having a Hard Time Getting Started...

I read this great post this morning from Leo over at Zen Habits. I mention his blog frequently because I am impressed with his ability to make things seem so darn simple. He talks about how some of people's best ideas never make it to completion because they are just too complex.

A friend of mine mentioned this post from Leo in an email she wrote me this morning and asked why it seemed like we were able to apply these principles to some aspects of our lives (like finishing our dissertations in a year), but not to others (like getting going on those books we both want to write). Something about what she said really struck me as important and got me thinking. This is what I've come up with -- one simple piece of advice to get you going.

If you are having a hard time getting started on a project, think about a time when you have been successful in the past. Really think about it. What steps did you take? What kind of attitude did you have about your project? Who did you ask for help? What decisions or sacrifices did you make in your life so that you could focus on something that you deemed important? Think about, and then apply what made you successful in the past to your current project. Don't procrastinate. Do it now.

In order to complete my dissertation, I spent a year saving up every penny I could so that I could afford to take a year off (and then ultimately leave for good) a high school teaching position that, in many ways, was a perfect job for me. I had to ask my family and friends for support in ways that went against my fiercely independent nature. And I had to trust the process.

A quote that Leo began his post with, that I think is also fitting here, comes from Wu-Men, who wrote that "If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, then this is the best season of your life."

I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to post a comment in the comments section below.

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