The starting line. The edge of the water. A new recipe. Potential energy. The beginning.
Are you the type that is excited and energized by new beginnings? Or do you find them daunting and debilitating? Or maybe you’re a combination of both, depending on the beginning itself.
For me, I have a love-hate relationship with new beginnings. For the most part, I find new beginnings exhilarating. I see them as bright shiny objects laced with a tremendous amount of opportunity for growth. I chug that kool-aid, dive in head first and swim fast. But other times…not so much…
Other times, I’m hesitant at best and paralyzed at worst by the mere thought of a new beginning, of starting over, of taking on something new or learning something that seems foreign and just plain hard. Yikes. Count me out.
Maybe it’s the fear of failure. Maybe it’s realizing the massive amount of time and energy it will take to “get up to speed.” Maybe it’s the lack of resources or support. Maybe it's a beginning you're now revisiting for the 4th time (hello, brewery business plan!). However, in shying away, backing down and counting yourself out immediately of certain opportunities, you’re missing out on what’s behind the door of faith, hard work and commitment. I’m not saying you should open every knock at the door (you can't do it all), but the ones that make you uncomfortable might just be the right ones to open.
So how do you get from uncomfortable and paralyzed to taking that first step in a new direction?
Define your non-negotiables, your priorities. Because nothing comes for free, there will undoubtedly be trade-offs of some kind, so it’s important to have your deal breakers firm in your mind and on paper. Maybe these priorities include your family time in the evenings, an annual vacation and a specific standard of living.
Set your objectives for this new beginning. What do you want to achieve, really, and why? For example, if you’ve decided to pursue a new career, what are you trying to achieve with this major new beginning? More flexibility? More money? Experience in an industry you’re passionate about? Pinpointing the exact goals and the WHY behind them is critical to defining the scope of this first new beginning and taking those first steps with intention.
Set small goals at first. Speaking of setting goals, if this new beginning is one that is stressing you out and overwhelming you, then take it in bite size chunks. If we’re looking at a career change, then one small goal might be comparing the job and experience you currently have to the job and experience you’re looking to gain, and identifying the gaps needed to get from point A to point B. Another small goal might be completing a chapter in a continued learning course each week. You can string multiple smaller goals together that will eventually help you achieve the ultimate objective of this new beginning. You get the idea.
Write the plan. Now you’ve got your priorities and goals locked in, write out exactly what you’ll do, when you’ll do it, how you’ll handle roadblocks or challenges, what the timeline for completion is, and most importantly, how all this will help you achieve your goals in step 2. The more details you can write down, the better. This is basically your strategy on a page.
Review your plan. If this is a major new beginning, you’re likely going to need support in one form or another. Find someone close to you and share your plan of attack with that person. Listen to their feedback, ideas and suggestions and incorporate where you feel appropriate.
Take that first step. The time has come to stop planning and start doing. Take heart in knowing you spent a ton of time and thought in putting this plan together, and start tackling one of those smaller goals.
Reward yourself. It’s SO easy to fall into the trap of comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle. It’s easy to get frustrated if you’re not seeing results fast enough or wishing you were further along in your journey. Remember to take time to celebrate the baby wins, even if it’s just making it through a crummy Tuesday. Hey, that’s the most you can some days!
Revisit the plan. Revisit your plan often, especially as you start to build steam and get more comfortable in this new chapter. Check to see if you’re still on track to meet those goals, if you’ve had to compromise any of your non-negotiables, if you’re actually able to take on more than you could in the beginning. Muscles grow and circumstances change constantly. Nothing stays the same forever. Enter new beginning.
These are some of the steps I've used in my personal life to help me conquer that fear of taking the first step. I hope these tips help you feel more in control of some of those new beginning situations that feel scary and hopeless. It’s easy to get excited about new beginnings that require little to no pre-work or stretching; you can just sort of fall into them and roll out on the other side. But those opportunities that are more elusive, more daunting, need extra hand-holding and preparation. And that’s okay too! After all, every beginning is another beginning’s end.
What are your go-to tips for handling new beginnings that are more uncomfortable? Share with us on Instagram!