The Secret to Getting Ahead: Getting Started

Start - Green ButtonStarting something new… whether it’s a career, a job search, a new year’s resolution, for example… can be one of the hardest things in the world.

And for the big projects in life—figuring out your future, applying to school, making a career choice—it feels next to impossible to get going.

When it comes to beginning something new, how the heck do you get started? The truth is… it’s easier than most people think. Just follow these four steps:

Find Your North Star

What do you actually want to get done? You might think “I want to become CEO of my own company” or “I want to get a degree” or even “I want to find a career that makes me want to get out of bed on Monday morning.” Having an over-arching, big goal like this is important—it’s the North Star that can give you direction.

But big goals can also be overwhelming—especially if there’s a chasm between where you are and where you want to be. The solution? Find concrete action steps.

Break It Down

Running a marathon doesn’t start with a To Do list that says: #1: Run a marathon. It doesn’t even start with #1: Run a half marathon. It starts with #1: Run a mile.

Think about the steps you need to take in order to complete your project or reach your goal. Is it going to take years? A month? A few hours? Depending on the scale, you want to break it down into small milestones that you can easily reach.

Make It Too Easy

Once you’ve got an idea of the steps you need to take, pick a task—any task—and go for it. As Nike says, Just Do It.

Still too hard? Make it easier on yourself. Do the task for just one hour. Or just one minute. However simple you have to make it, break it down until the task is so easy that you just can’t say no.

Give Up Fear

Starting something new can come with a lot of fear. And that fear is often the thing stopping us dead in our tracks. I think Jeff Atwood, a Web Developer and Blogger, put it best when he wrote:

“I think it’s the fear that gets us, in all its forms. Fear of not achieving. Fear of not keeping up. Fear of looking dumb. Fear of being inadequate. Fear of being exposed. Fear of failure. The only thing preventing us from being awesome is our own fear of sucking.”

Getting past the fear can be the hardest battle. But if you can, you’ll free up so much energy to power you toward your goal.

What’s the best tip you know for getting your career started?





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AnnieAbout the Author: Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a site that helps people discover strong careers and connect with the right education to achieve their goals. Follow Annie on Twitter!



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