Seth Godin just made a blog post yesterday about four points that hold people back. Fear is on that list. It is certainly scary to start something new, take a stance, get in front of a crowd or put yourself out there.
I’ve come to enjoy it though – like a good horror film – you just have to ride it through knowing you’ll be fine. Then it almost becomes enjoyable.
I now use such feelings as a guide. If I am not as least slightly uncomfortable, I know I am not pushing my boundaries, trying new things.
Almost everyone experiences it too. So keep that in mind. And start the things you know you need to.It may seem like it takes quite an effort but I am always amazed at how easily people put so much effort into developing excuses for why they CAN`T do something. It boggles my mind: you are spending energy and time on the excuses, yet getting nowhere.
Small Steps: Kaizen
One key way I have been able to move forward was discovering the theory of kaizen (Japanese for continuous improvement). In short if you treat everything as a process that will be constantly improved upon or adjusted if removes the pressure of having to have things “just right” in order to start.
The AQR website is a perfect example. Our resident web designer was busy wrapping up his own projects and client work while prepare to move back to Halifax. Instead of waiting for him to return and get settled, I decided I would build the first version of the site and we could improve it from there.
Now it took longer than I expected of course – last time I built a website CSS did not exist. While not perfect, I am happy with it to the point I can put it out there.
If you review your first site version and don’t feel embarrassment, you spent too much time on it.—Reid Hoffman, as quoted in Mark Goldenson’s 10 lessons from a failed startup
So I may be slightly embarrassed, plenty to tweak and clean up still – fonts, and some layout issues – but you are here now. Reading this, viewing our services, perhaps contacting us, or following us on Twitter. So it is a step further than where we were yesterday.
Along the lines of kaizen is agile development, lean start-ups and minimum viable products. All essentially stating it is more important to do something, to start, and in the process you see what works and what doesn’t (and please do let us know what doesn’t work with this site).
The alternative might be massive documentation and reports discussing how things could go but still requiring one to start and see – in which case you usually discover the documentation was time well wasted. (And there is plenty of existing documentation on any and every topic – with more coming everyday – already online).
So start. When you realize it is just the first step in an ongoing process, what’s there to be afraid of?
And thanks for joining us as we start this adventure.