3 Ways to Overcome Inertia

The smartest thing you can do is start.  — Unknown

In the past, I’ve gotten caught up in perfectionism, procrastination, fear (of both failure and success), over-planning and analysis paralysis (to name just a few of the mental obstacles that can get in the way of starting something). However, over time, I’ve managed to get to a point where I’m much more likely to just start things off and correct my course as I go. Here are a few examples of ways you, too, can begin overcoming those mental blocks and start getting things underway in your business.

1. Deadlines are your friend

I recently started a new radio show. While there are plenty of imperfections in its setup, by focusing on my weekly deadline, I’m much more concerned about rolling out the show and am concentrating on the content, rather than things like sound quality and making the product super-polished, at least at this point. If I got too wrapped up in those kinds of details, the show would never get produced, so instead of focusing on perfection, I focus on the deadline and on lining up the best possible topics and guests that I can for each show. Certainly, not having a stellar setup comes with its own set of challenges, but already, the show has led to some amazing opportunities, which wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started it.

Sure, as time goes by, I’m fine-tuning my show. I’m modifying the segments, making tweaks to the lineup, adjusting the setup, etc., but the content and the deadline take up the bulk of my attention, and as I find the time, I polish it in small ways.

2. Find another route

Many times, it’s our own creativity (or lack of it) that gets in the way. We think we have to do things a certain way in order for them to work, when really, if we’d just think outside the box a bit, we could get them off the ground sooner and perhaps even more successfully than if we went the more “traditional” route.

For instance, I recently was thinking of creating an e-book. I had been asked by many people about a particular topic and decided that there was an opportunity for me to write a book around it, but who has time to write a book? By the time I’d written it, I would have forgotten who was interested in it! Plus, that’s deferring all the benefits that might come from creating it to well after I write it, which would take months — that’s not very motivating. I have bills to pay and other obligations that need my attention right now.

What’s the alternative, though? I’ve certainly seen some very successful membership sites, where the founders create their content over time and subscribers sort of “pay as they go,” but the thought of creating a membership site and building it to a respectable and worthwhile size seemed very intimidating.

I needed a way to start faster than that and really get over those mental blocks that come along with the magnitude of writing a book (a whole book) or starting a membership site. I decided to create my own sort of “mash-up” which is half book, half membership site so that I could get over my intimidation. Instead of thinking of it as a book or as a membership site even, I thought of it as a “program,” or an ongoing class, in a sense. That made it much easier for me to wrap my mind, was far less intimidating, and instead of thinking about creating content for an entire book, I would only have to think about this week’s “lesson,” which was much more doable.

3. Play “Red Light, Green Light”

Back in my real estate days, I operated by the book “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.”  It was my bible. In it, Gary Keller says that you have to play “Red Light, Green Light” with your expenses, and I was reminded of it just a couple of days ago. My accountability partner was thinking of starting a newsletter, and we were brainstorming ways she might brand it, which immediately made me think about the look and feel for the design. I was imagining all the cool ways we could design it, and for a second, I thought, “Well, what if she wants to create something very customized?” I then thought about a person who could design something for her from scratch, but I stopped when I realized that would set up the likelihood of procrastination, which wouldn’t help her get her newsletter off the ground.

I think that’s a common sticking point. In her case, to overcome it, she could think about getting a general look and feel to start, something that’s quick and lower in cost to set up.  Then as her vision develops, she can spend more time, energy, and money in perfecting and polishing it.

So many factors can get in our way and prevent us from launching that new business, product, newsletter, etc. We have great ideas, but getting from Point A to Point B seems too far a leap. Sometimes, as the saying goes, you just need to jump and trust that you’ll either fly, or find ground beneath you.

What’s your best story of making a leap — and finding your wings or new ground?

Photo by Flickr user abnelphoto.com, licensed under CC 2.0

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