"The great philosopher Dolly Parton [once said], find out who you are and do it on purpose. ... And I would like to flip Dolly's phrase upside down, and I'd like to say: do it on purpose, and you'll find out who you are. Asking for a guarantee before you start isn't helpful. Instead, we need to look at a concept, an idea, and be willing to try it out with intent because if we do, if we try it on for size, we will figure out if it fits us. As opposed to the opposite, which is spending a lot of time figuring out who we are and then going and finding the things that fit us." (Seth Godin on The Knowledge Project: #105 Seth Godin: Failing On Our Way to Mastery)
Seth's concept goes beyond self-discovery. I see it as a statement on the power of acting with passion and, in the process, achieving clarity. On the flip side, many of us get stuck searching for clarity before ever getting started.
Defining a vision for what we want is critical when establishing our goals and aspirations. However, at a certain point, it can become an excuse for not diving in. We stall, claiming that there are too many unanswered questions to begin.
I remember feeling this way when I started my newsletter. At first, I kept questioning myself, wondering if I really had anything valuable to share. Once I got over that hump, I spent all this time debating the name of the newsletter. As if the name The Beatles had anything to do with their success. I hadn't written a word yet!
Yes, we need to know where we're going, but once we have a direction, we can learn the most not by laboring over the finer details but by doing. Why? Details change. It's inevitable.
Say that you want to start a YouTube channel reviewing music. You can spend the next six months, maybe even a year or more, talking about it, deliberating over what type of music you want to review and how long the videos should be. But, how can you ever claim to know until you try? Instead, you can make a video. Post it. Get feedback. Make another one with that feedback in mind. Post it. Continue.
Imagine if we redirected the energy we spent thinking and talking about what we want to getting to work. Then, where would we be?