A long time believer of the old adage, “getting started is half the process,” I can still remember the first time someone spoke those words to me. I was no more than fifteen years old, with a paper looming overhead that I couldn’t fathom the idea of how it would ever get done. Upon hearing those words, I felt uplifted, thinking, ‘maybe I do stand a chance here!’ I did indeed get started, and did indeed feel much pressure alleviated from my mind. Then I got distracted, probably by something having to do with JTT, and wound up handing in a rather abysmal paper.
Now I never said I was always good at following that saying, although I knew it to be true, and it wouldn’t be for another four years that I would actually become a good student, let alone good at ‘getting started’. The point is, I wasn’t always motivated, and didn’t have a clue as to what I was truly passionate about yet. That all came when I was in college.
I went to a community college first, and when I had the freedom of choice in what I studied, I quickly found that I could, in fact, be a good student. I became passionate about the variety of subjects I could learn; with that in mind, I was motivated to get into a good four year university, because for the first time in my life, I actually believed that I could. Amped up, with goal in sight, I got started left, right and center. In the end, my motivation and hard work paid off when I got into the school of my dreams in the heart of New York City, and you know what? I’m still patting myself on the back for that one!
Since then, whenever I have been stuck in a holding position, unable to take that crucial move and just start something already, I take a moment and ask myself ‘what is my motivation?’ and in turn, ‘which passion does this motivation feed?’ The two are synonymous in my book, and once you can figure them out, you’ll have a hell of a lot of an easier time starting anything and everything (even the little tasks which seem mundane when working towards your goal).
As I mentioned previously, it took me three years in a job I knew was wrong for me, to get the nerve to leave it behind and start pursuing my dreams of a life abroad and whatever may come with it. A major factor in the longevity of that decision was a lack of motivation. I knew I wanted a life different than what I had, but didn’t know just what it was or how to achieve it. When I finally figured out what I wanted to do (travel / volunteer / work abroad), and why I was passionate about those goals, getting started on making it happen was easy as anything; those mundane tasks I had to do at work all seemed to fit into the greater purpose of getting out of there, and suddenly seemed less mundane. From the time I figured it out, to the time I actually left was three months* (*full disclosure: I did come back to said job after several months, but briefly and only to leave permanently shortly after. Details in a future post).
The whole point of this story is to highlight the fact that once you figure out what you’re after, and why you’re after it, things will pick up a lot faster than you could ever imagine. That’s not to say that every dream you have will always come true; but what I’ve learned is one thing always leads to another, and by taking that first step in getting started on something, your whole life can change in the blink of an eye. It might not be how you pictured it, but have an open mind, and you’re bound to see a difference.
Today I re-write the old saying with a new twist: getting started is half the process, once you find your motivation.