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10 Tips for getting your project off the ground

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do,
Or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
Power and magic in it,
Begin it now.”
- W.H. Murray (The Scottish Himalayan Expedition)

The single biggest reason that people do not succeed at their ambitions is not because they fail. It is because they do not begin.

Here, then, are a few pointers to try to help commit you to action.
Let me know your thoughts about this in the comments section.

1. Come up with a plan that gets you very excited. So excited that you want to just start right this minute. You need to care, really care.

2. Now go for a long run with your pessimist hat on. What’s wrong with your plan? What are the risks, pitfalls and hurdles? Do you really want to go through with it? Really? Really? Can you afford it? Do you have the time? Will your mum let you go? You need to be realistic.

3. If you still believe you have an exciting plan and that it is realistic then it is time to commit. COMMIT. Set a start date that you are determined to keep to. Tell everybody you care about what you are doing and when you will start. Tell the mates who will ridicule you the most if you do not begin. There’s no turning back.

4. Work out what obstacles lie in your way. Do this honestly and realistically. But do not be daunted by them: accept they need to be dealt with, and believe that you can deal with them.

5. Start having cold showers. If you can make yourself begin the day with something daunting then the rest is easy. Feels great too. And it’s good for the planet!

6. Tame your ego. Think small. Don’t be an “all the gear and no idea” numpty. Concentrate on getting to the start line rather than superfluous rubbish. And don’t worry too much about ‘World Firsts’ and so on (unless you need that for sponsor hunting). So long as it is new and fresh and difficult for you then that is perfectly enough.

7. Think realistically about sponsorship. Do you need it? Or can you save up for a bit longer? Or can you just be tight, eat banana sandwiches, sleep in ditches and therefore get going right now?.

8. Accept that everything may not be absolutely perfectly ready come departure date. Think pragmatically. Get yourself to the start line. Remember the 80% rule. Get things 80% right then crack on to the next thing. Fill in the pretty detail later, if you have time. (Obviously this attitude does not apply to a few things where it makes sense to strive for perfection: expedition safety, parachute packing, bungee jumping etc.).

9. Continue to remind yourself of why you began all this in the first place. Was it to faff with website re-design, schmooze with potential sponsors, be skint? Or was it to get out there, feel alive, do something great? Exactly. So get on with it!

10. Don’t be a “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” person. No excuses, no regrets, just do it. You’ll get there if you want it enough.

And finally…
Leave this website, turn off your computer, and get on with life. (I think that’s aimed at me not you! Bye!)

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  1. Awesome post Al. Great advice. Start small but definitely start. Really Love it.

  2. Thanks for a fantastic post. If you could bottle proactive energy you would be a rich man Al. Interesting to note that although you’re talking about planning expeditions, all your points apply to startups (as well as life in general I suppose). Cheers and hope you have a good (laptop free) weekend.

  3. This is a great article. I’m planning a micro adventure thanks to you Al, but that’s not my submission. I realised as I read your article that I am usually the procrastinator that you describe. But I’m changing. Writing my blog is my adventure. Finding out about everything that I’m learning, and committing to it is empowering. I went through exactly the same preparation steps that you describe in that book shop a month or two ago, and decided not to buy more until I have read what I own. More to the point, the proverb at the top of the page is true. You know when you’re onto something that fits for you. It clicks. Things knit together. Go for it, whatever IT is :)

  4. Such an inspirational read! Thanks Alastair… that’s just the motivation I need. I badly want to move to Scotland, I’ve dreamt about it for years, and I haven’t had the courage to set targets and my heart’s ambitions into action. You’re absolutely right… I really don’t want to be a should’ve could’ve would’ve person. I’ve only myself to blame if I sit and do nothing! So thanks!… this is my first step to life changing decisions!… ‘Bring it on’! (wish me luck!) ;-) x



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