The toughest moment in any project or activity is taking the first actual action step. Despite mental rehearsal and preparing the optimal environment, the first step is a big challenge for many people.
There are traditional methods for overcoming this hurdle. Approaches vary from one person to the next. For example, many would say that the best way to get mobilized is to sit down and write an outline of your project. However, in the initial stages of many projects, too many elements remain uncertain for outlining to be either easy or productive.
Other people highly recommend a Zero Draft. They believe you should simply start writing, not thinking about spelling, format or structure. Once you have something on the blank page, they reason, it’s easy to edit. Neither of these approaches uses your time wisely.
Instead, begin a project by defining desired outcomes. Identifying your goal allows you to effectively visualize the overall result. You don’t become mired in the topics you need to address, the resources you must consult, or the specific
methods you will use. This definition of desired outcomes becomes the framework of your project. In fact, once the outcomes are defined, you can work backward to lay out the needed action steps.
How does starting by defining desired outcomes ‘find time’ for you? You are engaging in a form of goal setting that is flexible. You avoid false starts, going off on tangents, or feeling obligated to follow traditional steps in order to achieve your optimal results.
Give yourself permission to define the desired outcomes in terms of what you want. This automatically activates your powers of visualization. You are creating the picture of what you plan to create.
If you are willing to experiment with this alternative to writing outlines and Zero Drafts, you will begin your project with the two most useful states of mind: “awareness” of what you want, and “flexibility” in how you achieve it.
In summary: free yourself from the obligation to follow the rules. Experiment with this alternative approach. The creative focus you develop through this process will enhance your success.