Baby elephant

Do you always have to have every step figured out before you start?

Ponder that question for a minute.

When you get ready to do a project, or start something new in general, do you always have to have all of the steps figured out before you even start? Or do you have to have a specific reason for doing everything you do? Can you do something just for the fun of doing it?

(I guess I should pause here and say, it really depends on the project. If we’re talking about building a table or a house, then yes, you should know each step that you are going to take to get to the finished product. That way you know what supplies to buy, how long to estimate that it will take, etc. While you do have to be prepared to change the plan as you go, your plan is generally set before you start.)

What I’m talking about is projects like taking a class or going back to school, starting a blog or podcast, writing a book, things like that.

So many of us think that we have to have all of our ducks in a row, and know exactly where we’re going and what we’re going to do, and how it’s going to turn out before we even start. We have to know how something will benefit us before we will entertain the idea of doing it.

This is something that I have overcome personally. For most of my life, I wouldn’t start a project at all unless I knew exactly how I was going to accomplish each step and how it was going to turn out in the end. I wouldn’t take a class or go to a workshop (especially one that I had to pay for) unless I could figure out exactly how it would benefit me in the long run.

Partially this was my perfectionism kicking into high gear. I watched a video by Brendon Buchard about perfectionism and it changed my whole perspective. He basically says that we use the term perfectionist, but what it really is, is self-doubt. We aren’t sure that we can actually accomplish what we’re wanting to do so we put off doing it and call it being a perfectionist. Click here to watch the whole video. He tells it like it is and helps us to look at ourselves and our excuses.

The other thing that stopped me in my tracks, was letting other people’s ideas and opinions decide what I was going to do with my life. If I wanted to take a class, someone would say “Why do you want to do that, how is that going to help you make any money?”. If I wanted to write a book, someone would say, “Well it better be a good one or you’re just wasting your time.” I let other people control what I did and didn’t do, rather than trusting my own intuition.

(Notice I didn’t say, other people stopped me from doing these things. I said, I LET other people stop me from doing these things. That’s a major difference that we need to acknowledge. If someone is getting in your head about something, you are letting that person do so.)

Over time I started to see these things. I slowly began to learn the art of doing things just because I want to, just because they are fun. When those same people ask, why are you doing this or that, I shrug my shoulders and say, “Because it sounded fun”. I’ve learned that sometimes the benefit is just to do the thing and have fun doing it.

“Act upon what excites you….for the sake of doing it….not with the aim of getting a specific result.” – Victor Oddo

If your intuition, your inner knowing, your Higher Power, is leading you to do something then there is a reason. You may not know it right away. Or maybe the reason is because you need to learn to let loose and do fun things for a change. Maybe your doing that fun thing, simply because it’s fun.

Over time you will start to see a pattern of how these things come together. If you are actively searching for your dream then you will start to see that dream revealed to you through these seemingly random things. If you already know what you would love to do in your life, but you’re having a hard time getting started, doing the things that you are led to do – even if they seem completely crazy – will help you to get to that dream faster. Doing these things will help you to refine your goals.

People walking up a sand dune

Taking baby steps is the best way to get to your goal. Yes, there will be times when you take leaps and bounds. The majority of the time though, the little things that you do each day are what set you up for success.

If you enjoy watching videos and/or reading about how to bake, or how to build a website, or how to have a beautiful garden, watch those videos, read those books. If those are things that you are drawn to, give yourself permission to not only watch and read, but to enjoy yourself and to learn. One day you may realize that you have such a love for baking or gardening that you want to open a store, sell items online, or teach your own classes.

If you have a dream of becoming a yoga teacher, start doing yoga every day. Start saving a little money here and there to take classes to become a certified teacher. Find people around you that want to learn, and teach them what you know. (safely and only teach what you know) Watch other people’s yoga videos to see how they do things and to find your own style of teaching.

With The Novel Turtle, I try to do a little something each day to make it better. Whether it’s working on a post, watching a video to learn more about what I’m doing, or posting things on social media. Sometimes, if I’m super tired, all I can get done is jotting down a few ideas. Even if I just do that, at least I’m making forward progress. Whatever it is that you can do to put you one step closer to your dream life, do it.

What can you do each and every day to get you one step closer to realizing and achieving your goal, your dream?