How many times have you stopped dead in your tracks when attempting to do something new? You feel stuck in time and space due to fear of failure or a lack of belief in your ability to succeed.
Most of us pray for a lightning bolt of confidence to unlock us from this frozen state. What we don’t often realize is that taking that first step – acting, moving, doing something – will bring the confidence we crave.
That is because action builds confidence; and confidence builds more action.
Right now, you might be thinking, “But, I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before.”
Of course, you don’t know what to do. Trust that you'll learn the way along the way.
If you start doing what needs to be done before you feel ready to do so, each step forward will teach you how to proceed and succeed.
Think back to your first job, or even your current work. When you started out, did you know and understand how to do everything you know and understand right now? No. You learned how to do what needed to be done, by way of doing it. You took action.
Stop believing you need to know how to get from A to Z before you take the first step. You only need to know how to get from A to B, then B to C, and so on.
By accomplishing small steps or tasks, you begin to build momentum. Momentum puts you ‘in motion’ towards your goal. It builds progress and creates confidence. It helps you believe you can achieve what you’re setting out to achieve.
Developing an intentional plan around large goals and objectives can greatly assist in breaking down what might appear to be unmanageable into manageable-sized steps.
My ‘go-to’ practice for this is very simple: I keep a running ‘to-do’ list.
I took on one of the largest goals of my life this year. I set out to write a book, record a CD, and get both independently published and released ALL within a six-month timeframe.
At the onset, that goal seemed impossible. I’d never written a book, recorded a solo album, or released a double project into the world. I knew zero about the process or how I was going to get it done.
The only thing I could do was take it bit by bit, piece by piece. I didn’t have a map, or a mentor. I could only see so far ahead at any given time. In fact, sometimes I could only see a few hours ahead or just one day. The thing that kept me going was my daily routine of list making.
To begin with, I took my large goal and broke it down – first into monthly objectives, then weekly, then daily. I started and ended each day with that list, and I worked every single day – weekends included. Anything that didn’t get accomplished, got moved to the next day. Likewise with the weekly and monthly objectives.
There were many times I had to play catchup, and many days I doubted my ability to get the big job done.
But guess what? I got it done. I got it done because I took one task, one step, one day, one week and one month at a time, and boy, did I ever learn a lot along the way.
Has it built my confidence in my abilities? Damn straight it has! I’ve done something I didn’t know how to do, or believe I could do.
Has it built momentum in my business? Without a doubt. I’m already writing my second book.
Has it taught me to stop doubting my ability to conquer the unknown? 100%
All of this is because action builds confidence; and confidence builds more action. It really is a chicken and egg story.
I’ve kept my ‘to-do’ list for that project in an MS word file. Every now and then, especially during a 'bout' of self-doubt, I scroll back through those pages and look at all the small steps it took to reach my goal. I let the memory of moving forward into the unknown reassure me that I can do the same with the current challenges I face.
This type of reflection is a good practice because it helps me to see exactly how much I’m capable of if I just put intention behind action.
What are you holding back from doing right now because you think you don’t know enough yet?
How would your life change if you started taking small intentional steps towards a new goal?
I’d love to hear about your dreams and aspirations, as well as your actionable steps towards them. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you. I also invite you to join AMMO Artworks’ private Facebook Group “Heart of the Matter” where we discuss and support each other with intentional actions for creating an inspired and fulfilled life.
Michelle Myrick is the owner and operator of AMMO Artworks – a creative arts company specializing in products and services that inspire belief in abilities and the capacity to succeed. She is a singer, songwriter, and musician; a visual artist; and an author. Michelle is also an educator and offers Team Building Seminars, Workshops, Courses, and Keynote Address & Performance for groups and organizations. See www.ammoartworks.com for details and information.
Cover Photo: A section of Michelle’s original painting: “Course Correction” (Available)