Michele Attias Life Coach

Stop Contemplating And Start Completing

The moment I dread most when commencing my lengths at the swimming pool early on a Sunday morning is the moment I hit the cold pool and commence the first length.

This is the most strenuous one, forcing me to muster all the motivation and stamina to continue. By complete contrast, the continuing 25 lengths are a breeze and require no effort whatsoever.

A start is the hardest part of any journey, whether we are attempting a morning swim at 8 am, or starting a project which requires focus and momentum.This is the case because we are going from zero to action, from formless into form. 

To start a behaviour or an action that takes us out of our routine is often the hardest part. Over time, as this incrementally develops and repetition happens, a new pattern is formed.

Imagine a venture you would like to commence, this could be starting a business, writing a book, launching an online programme, becoming a public speaker or developing a new hobby.

What if you could simply start, explore, and learn as you venture through it?

This is not about ploughing blindly into the abyss hoping and praying that it will all work out, or pouring an incredible amount of money or resources into this. It is more about choosing an activity or project you have always wanted to tackle and doing the first thing required to get it into motion.

Often we stand on the precipice of desire convinced we don’t know enough, that more information is needed. So more courses are booked, more notes are taken, more webinars are attended, but the project still stays firmly under wraps.

The reality is that we have every video and online programme available to teach us how to do anything and everything we desire. It is often not a lack of information that is the issue, since this is swiftly solved through a visit into Youtube, Google or Wikipedia.

It isn’t where the problem lies.

Registering on a dozen courses doesn’t give the assurance of a commencement date. It simply gives more information overload and more time to distract and busy the mind into overwhelm. Instead of the alternative which is venturing into the imperfect and messy unknown.

Rather than engaging in pure contemplation, just start until you complete.

I remember wanting to write a novel and waiting for the conditions to be perfect. For my English grammar to be at an almost Shakespearian level and this made for a wonderful excuse. It meant I never started. Alongside this, I needed a brilliant idea and I wanted to know who would buy the book before I would even consider sitting down to type the first word of that novel. 

The list of excuses consistently became longer by the day.

I considered registering on yet another course on how to write a book. I would have arrived early, taken notes conscientiously during the course and listened attentively to the instructor, endeavouring to do what they recommended. The problem was that it would not have moved me in any direction. 

So I did something different. I joined National Novel Writing month where I was required to write a 50,000 word novel in April. Not a perfect novel, just a first draft created during 30 days.

The beauty of this was that I was required to start and complete a first draft, which was a totally new experience. I recall the moment I sat down the first day knowing I had committed to writing a set amount of words each day. I created a habit of sitting at my desk to write each morning for one hour before I coached clients.

Arising an hour earlier in order to fit in the writing meant no more excuses, the 50,000 words would have to be written. To my utter astonishment, I began to write words filling the pages until these turned into chapters, which began to transform into a story that I began to feel connected to.

Before I knew it, the 30 days were complete and I had written the 50,000 words required. 

It was achieved not through a whole day's work, but just one hour each day of uninterrupted focus.

Along those 30 days, I had built a solid habit and learnt much about myself in the process of writing the novel. The experience of creating characters emerging from my imagination, creating a plot, changing the dialogue and building new subplots. 

I had not known this when I started, and in the process I dropped the need for waiting for the validation from others. I wrote simply as a way of expressing what I wanted to share with the world.

Note that I still had my coaching practice and was coaching clients daily, nothing had to be suspended or cancelled. I was simply required to carve out a time slot to create and craft my story, which I did with ease.

I had waited long enough to start and therefore committed wholeheartedly.

Just like the first lengths of the swim, the start was tough but once the days progressed, it developed with finesse. Like an artist creating a painting on a canvas, I gave birth to a creative freedom which felt liberating and more importantly, fun.

I began to come up with ideas of other projects I could create alongside this, which I could never have imagined would emerge when I had first commenced. One piece of creativity led to another.

Alongside this, there was no doubt I would need to learn from other authors, editors, experts or ask advice about the process of publishing. This would certainly support me even further, but the important thing was that I got started, continued and completed.

It was a process of self-discovery that wouldn’t have grown in the midst of a webinar, programme or youtube video.

If you have been an information junkie, but continue not to have much success in getting started, then you require a different tactic.

Try it, it can’t be worse than waiting for that perfect moment.

As children, we were given a table of arts and crafts and messy materials to unleash our creative ability and develop our artistic expression. However messy we ended up, with hands full of paint and half our face covered in multicoloured crayons, it was fun. Whatever the outcome of our artwork, the process of picking the colours, deciding which shapes to create was part of it.

Before we knew it, we were able to proudly show off our creation to the delight of our parents. Yet presently we are just too scared to get messy, to try things, to play around with what we love and see what we create. to express ourselves in whichever way we chose to and then step back to view our masterpiece.

Each day we have the potential to create our own masterpiece, however imperfect. 

Most of us wait for the exact prime moment when all our ducks are firmly in a row. The moment will arrive as a Hollywood moment accompanied by lightning, music playing and a sign from above telling us it is now time to begin. When the secret is to take just one step in the direction you wish to go in.

Imperfectly, not entirely ready and with the basic resources available. Start, complete, get it out there, take the feedback and make it better if you need to. If you never do it, it will never happen.

At times we fear uncertainty which keeps us clinging onto what we know, which feels safe and secure. There is also the validation we might seek from others, we are waiting for someone to raise the flag and shout ‘Go!’ as we stand on the sidelines waiting for his or her permission. 

The problem is that no one except your desire will give you a kick to get you started, somehow, anyhow. To have the courage to press the start button, you will have to launch yourself into the ‘uncertainty’ framework.

The alternative is to wait until the time is right or register onto another programme teaching you the how’s and how not’s. My experience is that only we decide when the start happens. 

Develop a desire for what you want and take the first step, however small to mark this as the starting point until completion.

Self Development