When you want to do something new, your first instinct may be to learn everything about it.
You want to make sure you know enough.
And when you know enough, you’re ready to start.
The problem is that you often don’t know when enough is enough.
You try to learn everything, because you want to avoid mistakes.
Then you wonder why you’re stuck.
The solution then is to learn just enough to get you going.
I call this action-based learning.
Action-Based Learning — The Video
So what am I talking about, and how can it be applied in a practical way?
In the video below, I share what I’ve found to work.
After you finish watching, I recommend you read the rest of the article below, because I share more goodies.
And remember, if you want more videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel, as I do not post every video to the blog.
What is Action-Based Learning?
Action-based learning means learning just enough to take the next step.
No more. No less.
And it means that you see through your perfectionistic tendencies, and the fear behind it all.
Because trying to get things perfect is, in and of itself, imperfect. Perfection doesn’t exist. The only thing that exists is an image of perfection in your mind.
Why is It So Powerful?
Action-based learning gets you out of the fantasy world of your head, and into reality.
When I started Wake Up Cloud in 2009, I didn’t have every single detail mapped out. All I knew was that blogging seemed interesting, and I wanted to share my story.
So I started with what I had.
Action-based learning helps me focus on the present moment and ask: What is the next tiniest step I can take?
How to Get Started with Action-Based Learning
Action-based learning is a simple concept to grasp.
It sounds good. It feels good. You may even feel motivated right now.
But applying it is another matter.
Here’s my 3-step process:
1. What Do I Want to Do?
Let’s stick with the example of when I wanted to start Wake Up Cloud. I knew what I wanted to do. I felt drawn to write, to blog.
I didn’t know exactly what niche to pick, so I picked something broad, like personal development.
I didn’t think I had anything worthwhile to say, but I started anyway. I was sick of waiting, and being paralyzed by my thoughts. I wanted to see what would happen if I followed what felt magnetic.
I had plenty of reasons not to start, but I knew that it was only by diving in that I would uncover the path forward.
2. What’s My Next Step?
So I knew I wanted to write and blog.
My next step was to learn how to get a blog up and running.
Right at that time, I got an email about a blogging course. It felt good, so I signed up. (The course was by Chris Garrett.)
When possible, I like to join a course, or work with someone. It saves me time, and helps me focus on taking action instead of on all the things I could learn.
If I wouldn’t have signed up to Chris’ course, I would simply have figured out what I needed to do next, which was to get my blog going.
Then I would’ve taken action.
3. What Do I Need to Learn?
Finally, I would have asked myself what I needed to learn in order to get my blog set up.
My focus is always on what I can do right now.
What is the next tiny step I can take?
What do I need to learn to take that next step?
When thoughts of failure emerge, I bring my attention back to this moment, and to the next tiny step. I don’t have to know where I’m going. It just has to resonate with me.
The path reveals itself as I move forward.
As Joseph Campbell said:
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
Avoid This Mistake
The mistake we make is to believe we can learn enough to avoid mistakes.
Believing that is the first mistake.
We assume that mistakes are bad, and that we can make faster progress if we absorb enough knowledge. But the path forward is through learning enough to take the next step.
It puts you face to face with your fears. It forces you to put yourself out there, and receive REAL feedback.
There is no avoiding mistakes. There is only avoiding life, and avoiding your journey.
It’s not about eliminating mistakes or fear. It’s about learning to take action despite the seeming uncertainty.
Look at what you want to try next, and take the next step.
Your mind will want to craft plans, learn more, and avoid taking action, but bring your awareness back to the present moment.
There will always be fear, anxiety, and overwhelm. Those aren’t the problem; the problem is how you relate to them.
You can start moving toward what you love today. Right now.
There is always a next step you can take.
The question is: Will you take it?
Have a good one!
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This post really read my mail today, and was exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks for posting this!
Have a great day!
Glad you liked it, Lori!
Thanks Henry. This article was the answer to my prayer. “Trying To Learn Everything About Something New” is where I have been stuck. I have to take action and share what I know and make changes as I go along. Great article.
Yup. One step at a time. Don’t believe every thought you have, especially if it holds you back.
Best piece of advice ever. Thank you Henri!
Rose Costas says
Thanks again Henri. Your post is perfect for me because I am just starting out. I am in the same place your were in in 2009 but now I have you to learn from.
making the conscious decision to go after my dream has taken me a long time but I decided it’s now or never. I honestly do not think I know nearly enough to start but like you say it will never be the right time and all I can do is learn as I go along.
Thanks for your kind and encouraging words and I feel very good about making the decision to go ahead even though I haven’t gotten it all together as yet.
Great insights, Rose. As you take action, despite not feeling like you know enough, you’ll come to realize that it doesn’t matter that much. You do what you can with what you have.
Sharon Greeney says
This post really resounded with me. After thinking about it a long time, I wanted to start a blog. I started a blogging course at the beginning of the month and am learning how to set up my site. I chose my niche and have sent out a few posts and have received a positive response. I’m slowly adding to my subscriber base every day. It’s only been 3 weeks but I am happy with what I am doing. The next step is to find a way to make money through my blog. But one step at a time as I try to carve my own path.
Yup, let it unfold naturally. See where the path takes you.
Susan Suehr says
I am in major learning overload now with my business. I am in this place of needing to put digital products up on my site as well as learning proper content marketing & SEO. So I need to learn about shopping carts. I decided to go with woocommerce because my theme offers a ready made cart where you just exchange the products for yours. So 1 less thing to learn. I do wish that peole would offer a ready set go method to start, then come back later method of teaching. I do at least 4-6 hrs of training now per day.
I found breaking my day up into manageable chunks helps me get through the training. I wish I could skip, but need to know this stuff.
Good post & thanks about the video sign up. I will.
Good stuff, Susan. Go easy on yourself!
David Hartshorne says
Another good post. Starting out online is a big learning curve and sometimes there is a tendency to want to get everything right before hitting publish. This is not realistic in the long run. You just have to learn from your mistakes along the way.
Thanks David! And what people tend to forget is that perfection widens the gap between you and your readers. Showing your human side (imperfection) brings you closer to others. There’s a reason I share my story so openly 🙂
Brenda K H-Johnson says
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been stuck in ‘perfectionism mode’ not just a simple month or two but that of many year. Have I made progress, absolutely! Designing, learning, seeking all competitive avenue not to restrict myself to one revenue stream, technologies and software to stay completive, different formats of delivery to extend my reach, etc., etc. as the list goes on. Although it has been at the forefront of my mind all these years, working on it every day in some aspect I also work as a consultant in my primary niche making good income. Not wanting to lose that level of income I sought after only the best set-up, formats, delivery options and alternative products only to still be striving in baby-steps taking the leap of faith, letting go, and diving in! At time I’ve asked myself if, “I’m afraid of success”. Yes, but I also see myself sitting in the role I’ve been creating. Sincerley ‘stuck’ but aware!
And the interesting thing is that even when you’re ‘stuck’, you’re learning something. Thanks for sharing that, Brenda!
Thank you so much for being the voice of reason, common sense and heart. As someone that has been feeling stuck – indecision, frustration, unable to choose, overwhelmed – it’s been incredibly reassuring to hear someone else talk about these things like they’re NORMAL! The power of the mind is such an amazing – and sometimes limiting – thing when we let it be. Many thanks from New Zealand … I’m now a Henri groupie and feel all the better for it. Cheers!!!
Hehee. Thanks Lynda. Yes, we get into trouble when we resist what is, or try to control it. But when we stop fighting, we can redirect that energy into something else, such as taking the next tiny step.
Jan Koch says
it’s been a while since I’ve visited your blog. I’m going back to the roots and comment on blog regularly now, of course I had to add Wake Up Cloud to the list 🙂
I implemented the concept of Action-Based Learning right from the beginning, I just didn’t knew that I did it.
Listening to a podcast from Pat Flynn, he said something like “I know that I’m on the right track if something feels uncomfortable”. And I try to keep this a mantra of mine. Whenever I take action and I feel uncomfortable, I know that I’m growing my skillset and getting more experienced in what I do.
This has lead to failures of course and in some situations I even lost money because of that mantra. But I learned to trust my gut and to go out of my comfort zone.
Keep up the great work 🙂
Sounds like you’re on the right track, Jan! 🙂
KW Stout says
Nice post! I’ve certainly been guilty of trying to take in “enough” information, which is usually just a sneaky form of procrastination. Also, I’ve found that sometimes too much information is worse than not enough information because it leads us to over-think things and enter paralysis by analysis.
Dina Choudry says
This is a great article, thank you! Reminds me of The Right Question by James de Garmo, my latest self help book of choice. Amazing stuff. I found it on a backpacking trip in Europe where everybody knew about it, but not many people have heard of it at home. I like what you say about your path; sometimes I’ve felt guided and sometimes not, but I’ve always stayed true to my journey
Paula Martin says
Thank you Henri!!! Exactly what I needed to hear today. U are so smart for your age😆
Thinking small is what I needed to hear.
Tom Johnston says
This is really true, Henri. Thanks for the reminder. Much appreciated.
Now, what’s the next step I need to take action on….? 😉
Milton Ray Smith says
One Step At A Time
To Your Success!
This is the first time I am posting comment on your blog.
After reading some content in email I was excited to know more & more. That’s why I watched the video & read this article. It is so true. The process to start perfect is itself hold us from taking actions.
I will now keep this in mind.
Take next tiniest steps and move forward.
This was perfect, Henri.
This is the exact position i’m in right now and your line ‘The mistake we make is to believe we can learn enough to avoid mistakes’ really resonated with me. I’m hesitant because the business i’m growing involves coaching other people, so i’m hyper aware of not doing ‘the right thing’ or not knowing what to say at the right time, but I guess that comes with learning in action!
Thanks again 🙂
Lori Fitzsimons says
Thank you Henri, I needed to hear this today. I find myself second guessing myself and talking myself out of doing things. It is better for me to just do it without putting too much thought into and working it out as I go. Fear has been keeping me stuck and I no longer want to stay there.