Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
It didn’t matter that I had sealed the seams. Or that we had a tub floor. Or that I had put a tarp over the site. Water was everywhere.
The torrential rains had come just after midnight. The sound on the tent wall was deafening. And depressing.
I could only coax a few of the group to start out into that dank October dawn. A summit looked improbable.
The rain poured unrelentingly. The trail ran like a river. Within minutes, I was soaked. And miserable.
Up the slick talus we struggled. The temperature near freezing. The visibility a few hundred feet at best.
And suddenly, the three of us broke through the mist, into a crystal clear windless sky. The sun warmed us and dried us. Snow flakes shot upward from the cloud deck below like crystal fireworks. Everywhere we looked, rainbows shimmered and danced.
It was as if we had been transported across time to a parallel universe. Nothing was as it had been. And it was like nothing we had ever seen.
We reveled in our good fortune and marveled in our own private paradise.
Hours later, standing once again in the rain outside our soggy tents, words failed us as we tried to share with our friends who had stayed behind the wonders that we had seen.
Those who didn’t start out could never know.
I learn this lesson time and time again. From getting out the door for the morning run, to the looming research project, to the unpleasant conversation that needs to happen, to the weights at the gym and the blog that wants to be written.
You gotta at least start.
Julia Cameron in her wonderful timeless book The Artist’s Way says that our job is to show up on the page.
Whether we want to or not, we show up and start out.
It’s what makes a “pro” says Steven Pressfield in the War of Art. An amateur capitulates to resistance; an amateur is always willing to negotiate the project away.
Whether you’re tired or not, whether it’s raining or not, whether you’re fearful or not, whether you’re feeling fat or not, whether you’re racked with doubt or not, whether you hate your job or not, whether you’re motivated or not, whether you’re in shape or not, whether it’s too early or too late, or not, whether you’re inspired or not; it is irrelevant. If you’re a pro, you make up your mind and you do it. You just do it.
Cameron says, “Leap and the net will appear.” There is a magic in the starting out. The way unfolds in a manner that can never be imagined locked in inertia.
Goethe writes, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves as well. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise occur. A stream of events issues from that decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents, meetings and material assistance that no one could of dreamed would come their way.”
“What I have learned from this simple philosophy is this,” writes Mel Robbins in this month’s Success magazine. “When it comes to being master of your life, you are never going to feel like doing what you need to do. It will feel wrong to ask for help. It will make you afraid to present your business plan. You won’t want to run when it’s raining outside. Getting out of bed can feel downright radical simply because you don’t want to. But you have to.” When the alarm rings, stand up, she says.
I have hit the snooze more times than I care to admit.
But I have walked ridges sculpted by the hand of God, stumbled upon the most beautiful dawns, discovered images in my viewfinder, and found entire stories upon my page, simply by starting out.
Start out. You don’t need to see the whole way. Just start. And see what happens.