Start. Just Start.

Starting out, even when things aren’t perfect, even when conditions aren’t quite right, is one of the most important of all success strategies. Because, the truth is, that for most endeavors, conditions are never really quite right.

I thought about this success principle as I stood high above the trees looking out on one of the most magnificent vistas imaginable.

The day hadn’t started out suggesting that such a moment might be possible.

Indeed, long before the alarm would go off, I could hear the rain beating against the roof of the motel: a cold, heavy February rain in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

I pulled the blankets up and rolled over in the darkness, sure that it was way too snotty to even consider venturing out.

Two hours later, we sat at the Dunkin Donuts. Our climbing packs were packed; the gear was ready. And the rain continued to pour… just freezing as it hit the surface. Nothing suggested even remotely that it was a good idea to strap on snowshoes or crampons and disappear for a day into a range that routinely and indiscriminately likes to kill its visitors. Screenshot 2014-02-25 17.57.31

A half mile from the trailhead, the rain tapered to a light mist. The temperatures were mild. The wind light. And, before the day was out, the sun poked through the clouds. It was a glorious fun-filled satisfying day on one of my very favorite mountains in the world.

It would have been easy to stay in bed.

Now I am not suggesting that you should be reckless; or act without thinking; or start out unprepared; or not consider contingencies.

But that’s not the challenge that most people face.

Most folks when they’re thinking about starting out on a project – a new career or business, a book, a fitness program, a product launch, a new relationship – want to wait until everything is in place, until conditions are perfect, the set-up ideal. Life is not like that (in case you haven’t noticed). Conditions are never ideal; all of the pieces are never in place.

You’ve gotta start out… and see what happens.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

Imperfect action is still action; imperfect progress is still progress. And sometimes when you start out – in fact more often than not – conditions turn in your favor. It’s as if the Universe recognizes your boldness and says, “Ah ha, she’s serious;” “Hmm, I guess he means it this time.”

You are rewarded for your audacity, for your courage; and for your faith: Faith in the abundance of a benevolent Universe; faith in the knowing that you will always find the path; faith in the power of your own inner strength.

Brené Brown writes, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” “Be brave with your life,” she says, “so that others can be brave with theirs.”

You have gifts that the world needs desperately. Conditions will never feel ‘right’ to venture out with them.

You need to start anyway.

Yes You: An Olympic Champion

The gym is nearly empty again. And the runners with their new gear have mostly disappeared.

It’s the middle of February. How are you doing on your 2014 goals and resolutions?

Statistically, only a small percentage of the population bothers to make New Year’s resolutions anymore. And of those who do, most abandon the effort by right about now.

You see, life is just way too crazy busy… and even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to slide back into the ‘old ways.’ That book that you had so wanted to write, that new product you were going to drive to market, that new business that you planned to launch, the new job you were going to apply for, your sales calls that you had planned to boost, the weight you said you were going to lose, that fitness program… all back on the shelf again.

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” John Lennon once said.

And it sure is easy to get distracted.

Frankly, that’s one of the reasons that I so appreciate our coaches (we have 2)… not even considering their perspective, their mentorship, and the resources they provide, the accountability piece is HUGE… staying on track… staying the course… even in times of turbulence and change.

Someone to hold our feet to the fire!

And watching the impact that coaching has in the lives of our own coaching clients – seeing the things that can be accomplished – is nothing short of amazing: businesses, books, health & wellness, new relationships, exciting new careers.  It is powerfully transformative and deeply satisfying work.

Peak performers all have coaches… in the arts, in business and in finance… Every Olympic athlete…  If you truly want to up your game, if you truly want to accomplish your most cherished goals and dreams, then dial in a coach. It will make all the difference. It certainly has in our lives. Sochi-Olympics-medals

And by the way, if you have fallen off course, no worries. Did you know that a plane flying from San Francisco to Honolulu is off course MOST of the time… but it still gets there because of constant course correction? You can do that too!

Every day is a new day. Every day the chance to begin again.

And the opportunity to grab the gold.

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Email me if you’d like to explore how coaching might transform your life!

walt@walthampton.com

Road Blocks & Hula Hoops

“I need to do some research on the market.” roadblock

“I need another certification.”

“I need to build a website.”

“I’m not sure of my target audience.”

“I think there’s a seminar I should take first.”

“I’m still a bit unclear about my message.”

“I don’t really know what to start writing about.”

“I’ve never spoken to a group before.”

“I’m too young.”

“I don’t have enough experience.”

“I think I might be too old.”

And on and on and on…

In the course of my coaching, I hear them all. Every single one of them.

The excuses we all create for not beginning, for not starting out, for not taking action. The obstacles we set up; the hurdles we drag out; the hoops we think we need to jump through .

We do this because we are afraid.

We fear that we are not enough. We fear ridicule and condescension. We fear failure. We fear success.

It’s easier to stay put, stay safe.

It’s easier to pretend. It’s easier to be ‘busy’ doing things that we tell ourselves are ‘conditions’ for taking action… rather than really taking action.

Rather than risking.

If it looks important and sounds important it surely must be important.

Maybe we can fool the world. But not ourselves.

In staying safe, we’re playing small.

And the world so desperately needs those gifts that are yours alone to give: your writing, your speaking, your coaching, your art, your service, your teaching, your product, your ideas.

  • By taking action, you will find your direction, discover your voice, clarify your vision, define your mission.
  • By taking action, you will draw to you opportunities and resources and people who will support you.
  • By taking action, you will discern what you really need to sustain you on your journey.
  • By taking action, you will learn what works well and what needs to be tweaked.
  • By taking action, even when you fail from time to time, you will move closer to your goals.

You could stay put (safe) for the next six months… and be nowhere in the direction of your dreams in six month’s time. Or you could start out on your desired path, fully fail for half the time… and be well along toward what you truly want.

There are enough real obstacles that will rise up along the way.

You need not create any of your own.

Build it, discover it, create it, refine it… Do it on the go.

Don’t wait. There’s nothing else you need to do.

And there is no time to waste.

Start. Today.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Most people quit just shy of their goals.

They give up when they are tired or discouraged or demoralized.

They give up when they don’t to see the results of their efforts; when they can’t see the finish line.

The story about Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions, is particularly illustrative.   Florence wanted to be the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to the coast of California.

On July 4th, 1951, she made her attempt.

The distance was challenging. But more than that, the waters of the Pacific were icy cold; and shark infested. And, as if that weren’t enough, there was a dense fog that made it impossible for her to see the land.

After almost 15 hours of swimming, Florence gave up. She quit. Just half a mile short of her goal.

When interviewed later, Florence said, “If I just could have seen the land, I might have made it.”

Well, Florence gave it another shot.

But as luck would have it, there was the same icy cold water; and, of course, there were sharks.  And yup, a thick fog too.

She couldn’t see.

But this time, Florence made it. She achieved her goal, breaking the men’s record by nearly two hours. Because she kept reminding herself that the land was there. Somewhere, off in the distance, a finish line.

Even though Florence couldn’t actually see it, she knew.

What if Edison had given up on try number 9,999? What if Jonas Salk had said ‘I just can’t stand the lab for one more day?’ What if Michelangelo had said, ‘Great ceiling, a lot of promise, but my back is sore?’ lather-rinse-repeat-300x242

Their missions were too important. They didn’t give up. They knew with confidence that they would cross their finish lines.

So don’t quit!

Hold fast to your vision.

Lather, rinse, repeat… and keep on going!