What does it mean to start ?

Many years ago, I entered an engineering professor's office. I don't remember the person's name and I am not very sure of the reason I was there either but what I remember very clearly from that room is a framed poster with a quote written on it. It looked almost like some of those motivational quote pictures we share on social networks .. and it said: "The secret to getting things done is to act".

I remember that picture because it resonated with me quite strongly but I never really had the courage to experience what it meant. Or what kind of actions getting things done required.

You see, I started a lot of project over the years but they never really materialize. Sometimes, I would spend weeks laying down plans that I would never follow and the project would eventually die.

After I got tired of failing I decided I would stop trying, I wouldn't start any project. I did some freelance work where I spent time on a couple of successful projects for which I got paid good money.

Fast forward to 2014 -around October I start playing with an idea in my head. I thought the idea was cool and I wanted to see how far I could take it.

I made two decisions that made this new venture very different from anything I started before. I told myself:

I wasn't gonna spend a lot of time on the creative process. That meant I wasn't gonna go for perfection. I knew what I wanted to make. I knew its purpose. I had to build the most simplistic version of my idea and release it to the world.
  • The second decision was that I wasn't gonna let money (or lack thereof) be an excuse to not start. So I didn't know how I was gonna to host it, or make money from it or fund it ... and didn't care. I didn't wanna care!

I just told myself I wanna work on this still by this time next year. Funny thing is a year later, I am still working on it, and things are going far better than I had initially anticipated.

Some day I will tell you all about how I built a company from 9$ but that day is not today.

What you need to remember is that starting doesn't only mean taking the first toward achieving a specific goal. A key thing to getting things done is to break down the initial goal into a subset of smaller short term goals and you have to hold yourself accountable for each and every deliverable.

And that why "starting" isn't enough. You need to act. Go out there do what it takes to get things done.




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