The Right Way to Start Things

I remember sitting exactly where I’m sitting right now years ago and making a promise to myself. (And no, that promise was not to use less hair gel.)

I sat here and thought, “I’m going to start Venture Out and this time, I’m not going to quit.” You see, I’ve been starting new projects all my life, with most of them ending incomplete or in failure. Bad execution, lack of a clear vision, or too much going on in my life. #excuses

So I made a promise to myself, this time I was going to see Venture Out through and throw everything I had at it (kitchen sink, hair gel and all). I made a mental decision that I wouldn’t allow for excuses.

In the pursuit of our passion, we need to override our excuses.

Top Excuses That Prevent Happiness

@ramit

Similar to @Ramit’s post on excuses why people don’t invest, below are my thoughts on the Top 3 Reasons why people don’t start anything.

“The time isn’t right.” — Think back which happens more often — you regretting starting too early or starting too late? Get comfortable with the fact that we won’t ever know with 100% certainty that now is the right time. All we can do is make an informed decision with what we do know, and I’ll venture to say now is as good a time as any.

“I’m too busy right now.” — If you’re a busy person, chances are you’ve always been busy. If you’re reading the this, you clearly want to get more out of life and aren’t just Candy Crushing it all the time. Reframe the question away from being too busy and instead to, what’s more important. Take control of the, “hedonic treadmill.”

“I don’t know where to begin.” — Finally, an excuse with some validity! I think the trick to solving this one is to simply pick a direction and acknowledge that it might be the wrong direction. For example, you could Google how to start your project, and get inundated with ideas on what to do. Similar to what I said about never getting 100% certainty, just start with whatever sounds best to you and then pivot from there.

One more thing — you prob know someone who has some experience or knowledge on what you want to start. Ask them for advice. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, so feel better about yourself for doing it. It’s either that or sit on the coach like a burrito.

“Work with someone who strengthens your weaknesses.” — @jeffbonaldi @Entrepreneur [7]


100% Own Your Decisions

Happy to say I got married just the other week (thank you, thank you)! Prior to that momentous day was a decision that, “yes, this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

In seeking advice on that decision, a close friend of mine offered me some advice. She’s (I think) into her 60’s, been married for like over 30 years, and have two, well-raised sons that actually still want to hang out with her. She told me, “when you make that decision, own it 100%. There’s going to be moments that make you question that decision, but if you 100% own it and commit to it, then the only question left is how to make it work.”

Love that advice. Let’s dive deeper into what she meant.

Perhaps the toughest aspect to overcome when deciding to do something new is owning the decision. That’s because when you make that decision, now you have to live it — success, failure, glory, embarrassment. The outcome is directly tied to our reputation, our image, and affects our self-esteem.

So much crushing judgement, it’s a wonder we ever leave our house!

My advice is to redefine what is success to you. In doing so, we also redefine what the reward is. Let me explain.

Success should be the fact that you started something. That’s more than most, and you’re putting yourself out there. You’re expending precious time and energy, maybe resources, into achieving something. Again, that’s more than most. Therefore, the reward is intrinsic to how you feel and not dependent on some external measure — profit, fame, judgements.

“In Homer’s Iliad, Achilles must decide whether to fight in the Trojan War — promising certain physical death but a glorious legacy — or return to his home to live a long and happy life with his loved ones but die in obscurity.” — @arthurbrooks @TheAtlantic [10]


Essential Free Tools To Start Any Project

Today I’m going to take away an excuse people have on why they don’t start projects.

“Yo, I got this idea that would be soooo interesting, but don’t know how!”

Below, I present to you the “tried and true” apps and tools I’ve collected over the years. I’ve been using them to build Venture Out and countless other projects. I even use them in my personal life, to stay organized and on top of things.

Yet… if we dig deeper, the real excuse isn’t because we don’t know how. The real excuse is we’re afraid to fail. Maybe our project really isn’t that good. Or, maybe our idea is too big.

That’s ok. Acknowledge those fears and excuses… and start anyways. Don’t be a slave to your monkey mind, and instead show yourself who’s boss.

For me, these are the basic building blocks for any project you may have, physical or virtual.

Brainstorm Your Ideas — The best way to do this is visually “mind-map” and create massive trees of ideas and see where it goes. Unfiltered and off-the-top-of-your head, keep on extrapolating, decomposing, and see where your ideas go. Chances are, you’ll end up with a lot more clarity than you started and may be surprised with your refined idea. My recommendation: Mindnode (Free)

Organize and Collect Ideas — I have the absolute WORST memory and can’t remember what I was doing just a few minutes ago. I suffer from chasing random squirrel thoughts! So, I need a place to store thoughts as they occur and easily organize them. I also need it to be available anywhere and everywhere. There are several digital solutions that work, but for me, I’ve been in love with Evernote for a long time. Create a note to jot down your thought, organize in folders, and it syncs across all your apps, devices, on the web. My recommendation: Evernote (Free or $8/month)

Create — So this recommendation may not seem intuitive because Adobe is famous for their Photoshop and Lightroom softwares. Beyond professional images, Adobe has tons of other products meant to be super easy to use and can crank out awesome graphics for your website, social media, or maybe a book cover. An industry standard for a reason, Adobe products are constantly iterating and getting better. From your phone, try Adobe Spark, which can create visually stunning images for social media sharing, videos, and webpages. My recommendation: Adobe Spark


Why Being Wrong is Better

Crossfit Games Champ @mathewfras | His shoes: Nike Metcon 6 Mat Fraser

I invested in MoviePass, that “great idea” where for a monthly subscription fee you could go to unlimited movies in the theatre. But when it flopped, I lost out on a couple thousand dollars. I’ve also published comic strip books on Amazon and made exactly $0 dollars. I’ve even been married once before and got divorced.

I’ve made A LOT of wrong strategic decisions in my life. But the fact is, I’d rather have made those decisions than to have done nothing. Too many time we come up with our internal dialogue of excuses on why we should not act. Those excuses are built on a foundation of fear. I posit that we should acknowledge that fear… and then take action anyways.

“We need big failures in order to move the needle. If we don’t, we’re not swinging enough. You really should be swinging hard, and you will fail, but that’s okay.” — An arrogant billionaire [6]

Ok, I don’t like to quote Jeff Bezos, because, personally, I think he could afford to pay his workers a bit more since he’s sitting like Scrooge McDuck on his $160B personal wealth. Yet, he articulates my point that if you aren’t failing, that just means you’re playing it too safe.

Takeaway is rather simple — promise to take action right now. Promise to take one step towards a goal you have. Perhaps it’s investing, go start up an account or better yet, buy some stock. Perhaps it’s starting a project, go open a blank notepad and just start jotting down your ideas. Or maybe it’s a bucket-list destination trip (after COVID), go start planning it!

Taking any step, I don’t care on what, even if it winds up being in the wrong direction. Anything is better than sitting still.


References

  1. HOW TO MAKE IMPORTANT LIFE DECISIONS by Mark Manson
  2. Dan Pink, Gretchen Rubin, and Amy Cuddy on the Art and Science of Working Remotely by HELEO
  3. How to Pitch Better: The Email Pitch by Daniel Pink’s comment page
  4. 10 Tips For Starting A Small Business That You Haven’t Heard A Thousand Times Already by Mike Kappel
  5. Gary Vaynerchuk and 8 Business Moguls Reveal Their Secrets for Building an Unstoppable Brand by Entrepreneur Mag
  6. Jeff Bezos Shares His Best Advice for Anyone Starting a Business by Hayley Peterson
  7. ‘Personal Board’ of Advisers ⁠- and How to Assemble Yours by Jeff Bonaldi
  8. Startup Advice from Successful Entrepreneurs
  9. 28 Successful Founders Share Their Advice on How to Start a Startup by Jonathan Chan
  10. ‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special Over Being Happy by Arthur C. Brooks
  11. The 25 best new productivity apps for 2020 by Jared Newman

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