Before you go hiking, you have to pick a trail to hike. You can look through guidebooks, browse around online or ask your friends. Once you've picked the trail you want to hike, you need to find out where the trailhead is. The trailhead is where you will start hiking. You park, get your gear ready and then start hiking. Knowing where the trailhead is might be the most important part of starting a hike. If you don't know that one thing, it will be very difficult to hike that trail.Starting new projects is a lot like hiking. It's an adventure. You don't know exactly how things are going to go. You can check the weather but it's never exact. You can look at pictures of the trail but you won't know every exactly what it looks like until you are there. And there is one place that is the most important part, the trailhead. Like hiking, you have to have a trailhead for your project.All you need is the trailhead to startYou just need the trailhead. You don't need to know every single twist and turn and where everything is going to end up. All you need to know is where to start.That big project that's in your word files or on your calendar or just sitting in the back of your mind, why not start it now? They're big. They're scary. You have no idea how it's going to end up or where exactly it's going to go. Like hiking, it's going to be an adventure.One thing is for sure. You know where to start. I guarantee it. You may not have any idea where it's going to go. Or any idea what steps you have to take to get all the way through. Or any idea at all about how long it's going to take. But you know where to start.And here comes the reason behind this post. You don't need to know all that other stuff to complete a project. You don't need to know every step along the way or exactly how long it's going to take. You just need the one thing you can do to start. You just need the trailhead.This is not a one time thingThe fear of starting is a tricky thing. "Starting" makes it sound like it comes up when you start a project. When you make the plans and get moving and get some momentum going. That might be when the biggest fear happens but it's not the only time."Starting" is actually every single time you sit down to write, to paint, to build, to edit, to plan. Every time you do work on your project you are "starting" for that day or that session. And every time the fear can creep in.Every time that fear does come up, just remember that you don't need to know all the pieces, you don't need to see the whole trail, you don't need to see every part.All you need to start is knowing where the trailhead is.Happy Hiking,~Ross
I started writing with the #Trust30 group on May 31st. It's a fantastic initiative to get things moving when you're blogging and really make you think about what you're doing with your life. Even if you don't want to blog about them, you can write them out in a journal or just spend a day putting together your own thoughts. I've currently got 2 other posts about the first 3 prompts, "15 Minutes to Live" and "Today and One String Belief".Post-It Question - Jenny BlakeAfter a beautiful quote from Emerson, Jenny Blake asks us to take one of the biggest challenges in our lives at the moment and turn it into a question. My challenge right now is to focus on the work I really want to do. This turns into the question, "How can I focus on the work I really want to do?" It's a tough one for most people.In the good ol' days at university, I was under the assumption that I was supposed to go to school, get a job, buy a house, etc etc etc, in the hopes of having a good life. I never complained about the process because I didn't know better. After finding things called "blogs" and reading about all these people around the world that have broken free of jobs they don't like, I began to see that my life has yet to be written. I realized I decide what goes into that book and it certainly doesn't have to be what everyone else writes.That opened up a new can of worms. I started doing everything I could to test the waters. Trying new things, starting websites, writing about everything I thought I had an interest in. But this mostly led to a lot of work and a lot of half-done projects. I hit the wall when things got tough and then started something different. I started to eliminate things that I didn't want to do. Slowly but surely I was getting more time. I rarely watch TV. I only do things that I absolutely have to.But there was still a problem. I was still not getting as far as I wanted with my projects. I began to look more closely at where my time was going. The first thing I found was the lack of it. I didn't have much time to work on my personal projects. After my day job, cooking, cleaning, spending time with friends and family, paying bills and other such required bits of life, I wasn't left with much. Instead of the full days I pictured myself with I had a couple hours a day to really get things moving. Often I'd sit down and be surfing facebook, twitter and youtube for three quarters of that. I'd use the rest to plan out what I wanted to do that day. And sure enough, I'd end up with about 10 minutes to do real work. Split that by 6 projects. Yup, I got nowhere.This past weekend at the World Domination Summit I had the amazing opportunity to see Danielle Laporte speak. They don't call her the firestarter for nothing (the fire department actually showed up during her talk). She has an amazing talent of getting to the heart of the matter. No bullshit. Just uncomfortable questions. The answers to those questions, though, are the keys to unlocking mental roadblocks that are hindering your potential. I could just see everyone's wheels turning when she posed questions in her talk.But back to projects. Danielle talked about having cool projects and REALLY cool projects. Insert meaningful, awesome, amazing, mindblasting or lucrative instead of cool in the previous statement depending on your situation. What I took away from it was that there are tons of cool projects. But we all only have so much time. It's incredibly important to separate the cool projects and the REALLY cool projects and spend time on the latter. You really only have time for one or the other. She aggressively confirmed the idea to fully realize my goals, I'd need to stop taking every cool idea that comes along and focus on the best.It's incredibly satisfying to put a lot of effort into something meaningful to me and see something amazing come out of it. Because I'm now focusing more on what I want, wonderful things are starting to happen. I've every intention of pushing as far as I can to see where it leads me.Have you ever had an experience where good things started to happen when you actually sat down and focused on something?
Why not try it?I just finished reading Undeclared for Life from Emilie Wapnick at Puttylike.Puttylike is all about multipotentialites, and the unique problems they face when interacting with the world. Similar to a polymath, renaissance man, or dilettante, multipotentialites are rarely happy doing one thing for long periods of time. They thrive on different activities and get bored when it's the same every day. Back in the Renaissance days that meant pursuing many different types of activities in many different areas like art, knowledge and learning, music and physical activity. Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with being one of of the most famous but there are many others. His contributions to science and art give you an idea of the breadth of activities he regularly participated in.When I think of pursuing the standard western tradition of going to school and then dragging through one single career path till retirement I get dizzy and go cross-eyed. I just can't see myself doing that (maybe if I wasn't cross-eyed). With an infinite number of incredible things to do in the world why would you want to limit yourself to working and watching TV? I can't fathom it.While I can't compare myself to Da Vinci, I think I regularly do a few more things than most people. Here's a bit of a list of what's been going on recently.My ActivitiesI regularly use the 2 monitors on my desk to code web applications, write blog posts and articles for my 3 websites, edit the photos and video footage I've taken.Right beside me sit 3 cameras, a waterproof helmet cam for action shots, a small point and shoot for the fast and light adventures I do in the backcountry and a digital SLR for more time-consuming but better quality photography that I've recently started to get into.To the other side is bin of tropical aquarium pieces from the 75 gallon fish tank I'm currently selling. I ran it for a few years but due to a recent focus on travel and a smaller home, I'm looking to get rid of it. I'm sure I'll get another one.Just behind me is a pile of outdoor gear that has been well-used this seasons, skiing almost every weekend then running and mountain biking during the week. Don't forget the snowboard that I used for 12 years up until last year and the wakeboard I break out every summer. Right beside the snowboard is a bunch of hiking gear that gets pulled out every summer for multi-day trips into the mountains and along the coast. My scuba diving gear will get brushed off when the water gets a little warmer as well, something I've been dying to do more of.I like the individual sports but played team sports for a long time as well. Elementary school was just the beginning when I played on every sports team they had. Soccer, football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, floor hockey. There really wasn't anything I did do then. High school got a little more focused with many days playing and practicing rugby and soccer. Now, days during the summer are spent playing rugby, ultimate frisbee and beach volleyball.Last year was full of trail running races and running the 47km long Juan De Fuca trail and while this year will be a little different the big adventures will continue.My computer and soon my walls are full of photographs I've taken travelling over the last few years. I've spent time in Mexico, the US, Australia, and New Zealand, with the majority of my time in my home province of BC, Canada. There will be many more to join them after the next planned trips to France and Thailand.I also have a day job writing online applications for the municipal government for the city I live in.The list may seem like a long one but most people have done many things in their lives. The difference between myself and most others is that they have done most things out of necessity, not voluntarily. They need to get a job to pay the bills. If they're tired of working, they plan a vacation on their vacation days that they have. If they need to de-stress they go to the gym or play a sport during the week. Weekends are spent recovering from the stress of the week.I didn't write this list to gloat. I merely wanted to show what's possible when you have goals in mind and push yourself to attain those goals. This isn't even a long list. Take a quick look at other lifestyle designers online and you'll find lists much longer and more interesting than mine. That's not the point though. I'm not trying to do more things than the next guy, I'm simply trying to do everything that I find entertaining. I guess you could say I have a goal to try everything. If I don't like it, then I won't do it again. But what if I do?If I hadn't tried something then I would have no idea what it's like. I would never have known what it feels like to bungy jump, travel alone, or go backcountry skiing if I hadn't got in touch with people that could help me and then done it. If you don't try you will never know.If there's something you've been wanting to try then go do it. With online resources like they are now, you can learn to do anything you want to do in a short period of time. If it's just money you're lacking, make that savings account, name it Awesome New Thing and do not touch it. Figure out how much money you need and put a bit away every paycheck. I'm seriously looking into a private helicopter licence right now. Yes, it's expensive but that's what saving is for. If you gave up on every single worthwhile goal you ever had, where would you be right now?For the Comments:What are the different things you're doing? Do they all fit together? Do you love doing them all?