When I was starting my online business, I worried about things that didn’t matter.
I got stuck in the details.
It was only by taking action that I learned what mattered, and what didn’t.
I see this happening with clients, and members in the Academy.
People get stuck on trivial things.
They want absolute clarity before moving forward, but clarity doesn’t come until you move forward.
You uncover your path as you take action. You cannot figure things out before you start.
We think we know what matters
But we really don’t.
You could say that you can learn what matters, but you don’t really know until you’ve gone through it yourself.
You have to learn what matters to you and your business.
You can only do that by making mistakes and learning from them.
So I see people fall into the same traps over and over again. I fell into these same traps myself, so don’t feel bad if you can identify with some of these.
Here are a few examples:
- Coming up with the perfect domain name
- Finding the perfect idea
- Blending all of your passions into one business
- Having the perfect business plan
- Getting a great design
- Structuring your website just right
However, the only way you’ll fail is by trying to get things perfect. Because trying to adhere to an idea of perfection leaves you paralyzed.
You stop moving, learning, and growing.
And then you end up frustrated, bitter, or depressed.
Here’s the accompanying video for this article. It’s great, and it’s short. Watch it.
And if you want more videos like this, subscribe to my YouTube channel here.
The art of doing work you love
What helped me get going with my business was to not take it so seriously.
Sounds like the opposite of what you should do, doesn’t it?
The fact of the matter is that when I don’t take things so seriously, I allow myself to play. When I play, I have fun, and when I have fun, good things seem to happen.
And if you’re just getting started, you don’t know what matters, so why not experiment and enjoy the process? You might as well, right?
To put this in more concrete terms, below are three things that helped me get started when I was stuck in trying to get things just so:
1. Challenge your preconceptions
When I started, I thought I needed an expensive design. Now I see that I don’t. I just need a simple design that allows visitors to read and watch my content.
I thought I wasn’t a good enough writer when I started in 2009, yet when I began to publicize my writing I realized that people liked what I wrote. Not everyone, but most.
Taking action, and seeing how wrong I was, helped me detach from my assumptions and thoughts. I noticed that I had no clue what was right or wrong.
I learned that all I could do was follow my inner GPS, and see what happened. That’s how I cultivated my mindset of conducting experiments, and letting go of assumptions.
2. Aim for good enough
All I can ever do is the best I can with what I have.
I make mistakes, but I learn from them. When I created my first information product, I saw it as a learning experience. The funny thing is that I’ve kept that same perspective to this day.
I see everything I do as an experiment. I don’t know if it’s going to work. All I can do is follow what feels magnetic, and do my best.
I still want things to be perfect, but I remind myself to aim for good enough. I don’t try to get anything to 100% perfect. Instead, I aim for 80-90%.
Then I gather constructive feedback, and I improve what I’m doing.
3. Experiment and learn
I constantly try to get feedback from the right people.
If I’m writing a book, I’ll get it to good enough, then I’ll send it to a few people. This is scary at first, but it gets me out of my head.
I can make all sorts of assumption about my book, but my assumptions are irrelevant. What matters are what (the right) people think about it. If my early-reviewers say that they’d like more examples, then that’s what’s needed.
I often discover that what I think should be improved isn’t what needs improving at all.
I’m not a genius. I don’t consider myself smarter than you. I’m simply more willing to get my work out there, and see what happens. I’m more willing to challenge my own assumptions about life and business.
Because to be honest, I don’t know what’s going on. I simply do what I love. I share stories that help people.
I do my best.
It’s as the Chinese say:
“Good news? Bad news? Who knows.”
Let it be a complete mess
What helped me get through those chaotic early years was to let things be messy.
My fears are there. I want to get things perfect. I want to figure things out. I want to succeed.
But my priority is always to my inner GPS, and what makes me come alive.
Things will be as messy as they have to be. I will keep following my heart, my own convictions, no matter how scared I am. This is what I am here to do.
I don’t have any other choice.
If I don’t follow what feels magnetic, I’ll end up miserable.
The bottom line
If you’re just starting, you don’t really know what matters and what doesn’t.
If you’ve never even started a blog, you can drive yourself crazy trying to get it perfect, because you don’t know what perfection looks like, so you chase a mirage.
Then you end up stuck and frustrated.
Yet all you have to do is be willing to start before you feel ready.
Ask yourself: What is the next tiniest step that I am able to take?
Then take that step.
P.S. Are you interested in learning how I’ve built a lifestyle business? Then I recommend you check out the Lifestyle Liberation Academy. Right now, you can sign up to the Academy newsletter and gain access to a 3-part video training series on doing what you love.