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Tips for Starting Something New (& Challenging)

Mandala 99/100 from my recent #100dayproject, #100daysofmandalas.  Art being a relatively new and challenging endeavor for me personally. :-)

Mandala 99/100 from my recent #100dayproject, #100daysofmandalas. Art being a relatively new and challenging endeavor for me personally.

Backstory: One of my clients is kicking off a new and challenging project.  After our coaching session, he asked me to write up a summary of what we discussed.  I’m sharing the highlights in hopes that this brings more joy and ease to everyone who is stepping into possibility, and outside their comfort zone.  

 

Connect with the Juice

You’ve decided to take on a new initiative in your work.  Awesome.  Before you go any further, answer this question: What’s your big WHY behind that commitment?  Your answer will connect you with the “juice” behind any commitment you make.

 

If you only do something because “everybody’s doing it”, or “my manager thinks this would be good for my career”, it will be too easy to give up further down the line.  When you connect with your personal “why” behind an initiative, you tap into a powerful source of energy that can sustain you if things get challenging down the road.

 

Notice Internal Obstacles

 

When you start something new, your self-concept may be challenged and self-limiting beliefs may arise.  This might sound like familiar voices in your head that tell you “I’m nobody special,” “I’m not creative,” or “Who am I to write that book?”  This type of internal dialogue is so common that we now have a name for it in popular culture: Impostor Syndrome.

 

Observe these thoughts with compassion for yourself.  I like to visualize a bumper sticker I saw years ago inspired by Buddhist philosophy, “Don’t believe every thought you think.” ☺  A mindfulness practice also helps.

 

See It As an Experiment

 

There’s freedom and possibility in seeing this new initiative as an “experiment.”  Merriam-Webster defines “experiment” as “a scientific test in which you perform a series of actions and carefully observe their effects in order to learn about something.”

 

Engaging with new projects through this lens gives you permission to not be “perfect”, invites in learning, and encourages you to try different approaches to see what works best. It’s also a great opportunity to practice non-attachment to the outcome of your efforts.  Stephen Cope shares a beautiful message from the Bhagavad Gita in his book, “The Great Work of Your Life”.  He passes on Krishna’s message, “Give yourself entirely to your work, yes.  But let go of the outcome.”  Seeing your new project through the lens of an experiment makes this easier.

 

Inspiration From Others

 

Over time, you will discover your unique and authentic approach to this new initiative.  At the outset you can tap into the inspiration you see in others who are doing something similar.  Ask yourself, “Who is doing something similar in a way I admire?” and “What is it specifically that he or she is doing that I find admirable?”

 

Get Specific

 

There’s incredible power in our intentions, and even more power when we get specific, write them down, say them out loud, and review them regularly. What exactly are you going to do, and by when?

 

Get Support

 

Asking for and letting in support is one of the best ways to do anything with some semblance of ease. There are infinite ways to invite in support.  Do you need assistance, a teacher, or an accountability partner? Do you need someone to help remove internal blocks that come up, or people who will encourage and celebrate with you as you step into this new initiative?  Who will support you in this new endeavor?

 

Learn While Doing

 

As you step into your experiment, pay very close attention to what you notice about your experience.  When are you energized?  When does it feel like drudgery? Look for patterns.  This will help you refine the way you approach this project so it can be a source of energy and joy.

 

When Challenges Arise

 

Reconnect with the juice behind the initiative, ask for and let in even more support, and be kind and compassionate with yourself as you step into this new territory.

 

Celebrate

 

The power of celebration can be easily overlooked in an achievement-oriented culture.  When you celebrate the small steps you take each day you create more energy for your journey. This is especially important when we are doing something new, uncomfortable, and challenging.  And be sure to celebrate when you accomplish the big goal too, and thank everyone who supported you on your journey.

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