A motivational kick in the pants to get the most out of your life Have you got an itch? To start your own business, go to the North Pole, retrain, lose weight, get promoted, learn to play the ukulele? Or do you just have a nagging sense that there must be more to life? If there is something you really want to do, but secretly fear you'll never do it then you need this book. The original Stop Talking Start Doing helped readers to move from talking to doing. To climb into the ring and face their fears about making their thing happen. It helped readers to understand why they had fears and why starting was easier than they thought. It encouraged them to start somewhere, anywhere. The Stop Talking Start Doing Action Book will help you to identify where or what that starting point should be, and how to build from there to make your thing happen. It will help you to evaluate why you have procrastinated until now and identify the small steps you need to take to make it happen. But it will help you to plan beyond that. It will help you see how you can execute your idea through small, simple steps that are right for you, rather than one undefined, daunting task. Find sources of inspiration that work for you and learn how you can draw upon them as you go, draw confidence from previous experiences, and find the self-discipline you need to make swift decisions along the way. * Identify your personal starting point * Take the first steps to set your plan into motion * Find your inspiration and self-discipline * Build confidence in your quick decisions along the way
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This was supposed to be about something else. It's not what we expected it to be. But once we started, it took on a life of its own. And now it's this. And as a result it's hopefully better than the original idea.
Such is life. Such happy things only happen if you get started on something. There's something to say about this on page 131.
Originally the book was intended specifically for people teetering on the brink of setting up their own first business and in need of a friendly shove in the right direction. But it changed.
The impetus needed to start a business is the same as anyone teetering on the brink of anything. So for you – this is your kick in the pants.
If you want to do something but secretly fear you're never going to do it, whatever that might be, then this might help you:
Go to the Amazon
Throw yourself into retraining
Lose a dress size
Go back to school
Write a book
Ditch your partner
Take your company in a new direction
Learn to play polo
Seek the promotion you want
…OR set up your own business.
As a result it's not written just for the entrepreneurial business person but for the entrepreneurial in spirit. The lessons, the advice, the nagging, the cartoons, the jokes, the exaggerations and the things that possibly never really happened… all these things apply to anyone trying to cross that bridge between their dreams and their reality.
Talking of the things-that-probably-never-really-happened…
A Tibetan Lama was speaking to a group of monks and to make a point, pulled out a large jar, set it on the table in front of him, produced a few fist-sized rocks, and placed them, one by one, into the jar.
When no more rocks would fit inside, he asked: “Is this jar full?” Everyone said: “Yes.” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel, dumped some in and shook the jar, the gravel worked between the rocks. Again, he asked: “Is this jar full?” The monks were catching on. “Probably not,” one answered.
“Good!” he replied and reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He dumped the sand into the jar until it filled all the crevices. Once more he asked: “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the monks shouted. “Good!” he said and grabbed a pitcher of water and poured it until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” One young monk responded, “The point is, no matter how full your day you can always fit some more things in.”
“No,” the speaker replied, “the point is that if you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all. What are the priorities in your life?”1
Sháá Wasmund, MBE
PART 1 TICK TOCK
PART 2 THE ITCH
PART 3 FEAR AND REGRET
PART 4 START
PART 5 THE ART OF DECISION-MAKING
PART 6 …AND ACTION
Table of Contents
Any drill sergeant in any army anywhere
It's shorter than we expect.
And it races by while we're working out what's really important and what actually isn't.
As time roars past our ears we drift, deliberate, doubt and take ourselves too seriously yet all the while we talk about what we would, could and should do to make it better.
And then it's gone.
So let's walk the talk.
Because there's never been a better time, or a more urgent time, to start doing the things you want to do.
This book is about starting.
It's about shifting from the static to the active state; the state where things happen because you initiated them.
It's about shifting gears, moving direction, transforming what you do with your day, your week, your time and taking control; it's about deliberately putting one foot in front of the other and moving with purpose instead of being carried along by the current.
There's never been a better time to start something. Now more than ever we live in a world of opportunity.
But the downside to this world of opportunity – brought about by new technology and new social and working conventions – is a world that seduces us into drifting through life.
Things like: shopping, web-surfing, casual tweeting, photo-commenting and status-updating. It's not that these things aren't fun or even good. But while it might feel like you're “doing” – in large part thanks to the power of billions of dollars of marketing – you might have a feeling that there's got to be more to life.
Supposing you could take the next 2 years off from your normal life? You didn't have to worry about where you live, earning a living, paying the bills, what family, friends and colleagues would think of what you do in those next 24 months.
Now, what are you going to do in this time? Shop, surf the web and update your status? Maybe you'll spend your time sitting on a beach talking about what you're going to do over the next few months? Or will you be itching to get on with what you've been thinking about and talking about?
What then, after a few weeks sitting on a beach, would you like to be getting on with?
Do you want to write a book, start a band, study, renovate your house, leave your partner, your job, the town you live in and travel far and wide?
What's it going to be? What do you want to do? Get a pen and paper and write it down. Now.
Write down the things you'd do and the things, people and places it would involve. If it involves more money than you currently have, you're granted a limitless fund for anything you want to do.
The money is there so that there's no financial barrier to you doing what you've often talked about.
Find an image from a magazine (or download one from online and print off), something that depicts what it is you really want to do.
Life is short.
If you've got something you want to do… now is a good time to start.
Here are four reasons why…
Our connected world makes it possible for people to actualize dreams, ideas and initiative in ways our forebears could not even dream of.
Put a couple of these into a search engine and see what comes up.
How to collect fountain pens from around the world
How to collect truffles
Mobile phone app builders in India and China
How to cycle across the world.
Want to collect fountain pens from around the world, want to learn how to collect truffles, want to find someone to build a mobile phone app for you in another continent, want to retrain, want to research how to bicycle across the world…? No problem. It's all at your fingertips.
Then connect with people who can help you. The soaring development of the social web has demolished barriers between you and the expertise you need. It empowers you to ask friends of friends (and friends of friends of friends) if they can offer advice, make introductions, share experiences.
Who do you know who's already doing or has done what you want to do? Get in touch with them. Ask to meet them, talk on the phone or email them and find out how they did it. What are their top tips?
Whatever it is you want to start doing – a business, a work of art, a social project, setting up a partnership of website information architects – there are people somewhere in the world who share your passion. Want to find people to trade antique fountain pens with? There are thousands of them. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to find people who share your passion. You can support each other, learn from each other, do business with each other. The author Seth Godin2 calls these groups of shared passions: “Tribes.”
Here's a few ideas to find your tribe:
Meetup (www.meetup.com) – an online networking site that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. You can find and join groups unified by a common interest.
Facebook groups – these provide a dedicated space for people to communicate their shared interests, so a great way to find and connect with like-minded sets of people.
Peoplehunt - an app which connects individuals with reciprocal interests. For example, you can find someone to practise another language with, or give you guidance about online marketing.
OK, so that's a business term and we're not just talking about business. But the point is that the cost of setting up many businesses or even non-business projects has collapsed. Most digital start-ups don't even need an office but work from shared space or coffee shops. This has, for example, had an impact on the venture capital world. The power used to be in the hands of the VCs because you needed money to set up a business and they would exact a heavy price for the cash. Now that it doesn't cost so much to start up, the power is with people who have ideas and the “gumption” to make them happen.
Viva la Revolución!
And if in fact you are starting a business or collecting fountain pens from around the world, the global markets are wide open for business. From your front room.
The conventions of society that dictated the correct way to behave and whose arched eyebrows used to hold people's dreams in check are vanishing. In the big cities they're already long gone. The world is too connected for that and it moves too fast.
1. Sixty years ago a gentleman wouldn't go to work without a hat on; ten years ago they stopped wearing ties. Now you don't have go into work to go to work… so who knows what people are wearing. But the point is: who cares?!
Society cares less about conformity than it used to. This makes it easier to swim against the current. Easier to do something different, to challenge convention. If you want to give up your job and travel round the world, learn to juggle, join a commune – your neighbours might cough and shake their heads but you can cope with that…Or they might just tell you how they always wanted to do the same thing.
2. The concept of a job for life is long gone. The tramlines that used to confine a career from start to finish; from apprenticeship to grave aren't imposed by anyone but you. It's not unusual to hold down three part-time jobs at once or to shift jobs every couple of years. In response to the absence of job security we have had to become more agile in our approach to work. Self-employment is soaring.
3. You are going to live a long time. Life expectancy goes up and up. If you're going to be around a long time you might as well do something you enjoy for as much of that time as possible.
Pimp your ride.
Some examples of how lifestyle, work, society and leisure are changing.
The most entrepreneurial country in the West is built on failure
The net number of U.S. startups versus closures is minus 70,000
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