You’ve probably heard the saying that in order to do anything, one must start where they are, right? While I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, I gotta tell ya. This little phrase, catchy as it might be, perplexed me for years.
What did it mean, anyway? Start where you are.
Of course I’m starting where I am. Where else would I start? How else could I start?
I hadn’t the first clue what these people were talking about. What I did know was that I needed to figure it out. Otherwise, I was going nowhere fast. And that’s not a good place to be.
I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s struggled with this concept of starting where you are. So I wanted to share some of what I’ve discovered. Turns out it’s not so much a destination, but a mindset. Sigh. Isn’t that always the way…
Starting where we are is as simple as beginning with what we have instead of waiting around for what we don’t. (Why they couldn’t say that in the first place is beyond me.) Starting where we are means we likely have limited resources and unanswered questions. It means we’re taking on some grand idea and trying to bring it to fruition without knowing how things will turn out. Basically starting where we are means taking a risk.
And that’s where things get messy. Because what if things end poorly? What if we fall flat on our face? Just like that, up go the red flags to our brains, convincing us that not only do we lack what we need, it’s impossible to begin.
Oh those blasted red flags. They can permeate every facet of life. Maybe we don’t start eating right because our cabinets are full of junk food. We don’t clean out the garage because we don’t have the right storage system. That product we dream of designing doesn’t make it to market because we think we need a new website, first.
Oh those little red flags of lack.
We’ve bought in to the idea that unless things are perfect—unless every detail is in place—our hands are tied. Because we aren’t enough and we don’t have enough. (I blame TV commercials.)
So what’s the answer? How do we start where we are? By applying action. And it doesn’t really matter what the action is. Do something, even if it’s wrong. (Not wrong as in illegal or anything, wrong as in it doesn’t work. But I’m sure you knew that.)
If you want to change your diet, start by making a grocery list that reflects your new food choices. Tackle the garage by putting away (or throwing away) one thing. Get your product to market by first completing your prototype.
Get the ball rolling. Move the needle. Take a teeny tiny baby step.
Zig Ziglar said it best: “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.”
And that’s the part that scares us, isn’t it? That we have to take action, no matter how unqualified, unworthy, or unprepared we may feel.
We have to start where we are.
That first attempt may end up not so great, but the second try will show marked improvement. And so it goes, as version 1.0 of the clean garage because version 3.0. The first draft of your manuscript becomes your final draft. The grocery list becomes a lifestyle change.
Which of course begs the question. What can you start, right where you are?