Ready Fire Aim!
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. – Confucius
The idea to attend the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica came to me almost by accident when I was wondering what my next career step would be. I saw it mentioned on the back cover of a book I was reading. I immediately began gathering information.
If you have read my book, Jungle: A Journey to Peace, Purpose, and Freedom, you know the rest of the story. I dove into countless questions. I indulged plenty of doubt. I felt (deeply) the fear of giving up an income for a year, and I pressed Dana, my partner, for her input—and her imprimatur. All signs indicated this was my next step.
Finally, without really knowing how moving to Costa Rica would work out or how I would earn a living with a second master’s degree—this one in International Peace and Conflict Studies, of all things—I said yes.
The Power of One First Step
I learned a long time ago that good ideas are cheap and plentiful. But they won’t have an impact unless you take action.
Early in my career, my mentor was trying to move me forward. I did not have a bias for action in those days—I just wanted to keep planning. He walked over to the board on his wall and wrote up three equations:
100% Plan X 0% Implementation = 0
80% Plan X 50% Implementation = 40
80% Plan X 80% Implementation = 64
Of course, I was able to see that only when you take action can your plan have an impact.
“What if you have a bad plan?” I asked my mentor.
“You know,” he said, “there are so many ways to adjust once you begin to take action that you don’t have to worry about getting things perfect. You just need to start.”
For every business idea that failed because it wasn’t good enough right out of the gate, a hundred have never been given a shot because someone got caught up in the need for perfection.
Just Do It
Here are my tips for getting your plan into implementation mode:
- Create a good intention. Begin when you are excited about an idea. Your gut knows the idea is good. Your head can worry about the details later.
- Move forward. Don’t wait until everything is perfect. You won’t know what will work or what won’t until you have taken action on your idea.
- Notice what’s happening. You will have plenty of time to make adjustments when you see your idea is working.
Take the next indicated step toward your dream or goal. Don’t let your brain over-think it. You don’t need to know every step to begin. The steps will emerge.
And take assurance from this beloved quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. …The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. …Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
Harness Providence and capture your boldness. And let me know the results of your action!