4 Steps to Becoming a Self Starter
Adam Starr | Excelle
In a perfect world, we’d all wake up early, go on a run, eat a healthy breakfast, and then head into work to tackle our next big project. As self-starters, we’d be brimming with energy and enthusiasm and wouldn’t even consider procrastinating before a deadline.
In the real world, however, we don’t always live up to our highest ambitions. But just because we don’t always do something, doesn’t mean we can’t ever do it. To help you along the way, we’ve outlined four steps to help turn you into a self-starter instead of a self-stopper.
Stay Ahead of Deadlines.
Do your work early, do your work often. Everybody puts off doing things they don’t enjoy to one degree or another, but the most successful people know that procrastination leads to inertia, and inertia is hard to escape. Instead of dillydallying on a big project, start early. If you do a little bit of work everyday, you will be finished with the project well before your deadline. This will give you time to work at a leisurely pace and will keep you from feeling stressed and rushed during the process.
Tackle One Piece of the Puzzle at a Time
A big project is overwhelming. When something is so big that we can’t imagine where to even start, we often don’t start. Break that giant project into manageable bites that you can swallow one at a time. Michelangelo didn’t stare up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and give up; he climbed up the dais and started painting one corner, one cloud, and one hand at a time. He broke down the enormity of his lofty project into achievable pieces. When he finished one, he moved onto the next until he was done. Thanks to his self-starter attitude we get to enjoy another masterpiece.
Don’t Call it Work, Call it Banking on the Future
Reframe the task at hand so you can focus on the benefits it provides instead of the annoyance it brings. Yes, sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind of work that we forget why we are doing it in the first place. Step back, relax, and consider the alternatives.
If you want money for a nice place to live, nice clothes, nice things, and good food, you’ll probably need to work. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, focus on the long-term reward you’ll get by doing it. Maybe you are saving money for a down payment, maybe you are saving money for a vacation, or maybe you are just working to pay off your credit card bills. Use these motivations to keep you focused on the benefits of sticking with your project and not giving up.
Don’t Be Afraid of Failing
In life, we get caught in ruts. We get stuck in patterns, we stop exploring our options, and sometimes, we cease to seize our opportunities. Why do we do this? Lots of reasons, but mainly because we are afraid of failing. We become so afraid of trying new things and not succeeding that we stick with the same old things, because they’re safe. But remember, safe and boring doesn’t always mean good. An important part of being a self-starter is the ability to charge into unknown territory, to experience things outside of your comfort zone. This helps with self-starter behavior because it makes us realize that we can handle newness. Trying things also gives us the confidence to achieve other goals that we formerly thought were impossible. So, the next time that cooking class opens up, take it. Next time the ballroom dancing class comes to town, sign up. When that writing seminar you keep thinking about opens again at the college, take your short stories and share them with your classmates.
Ultimately, self-starters are people that realize that success requires work, but that if you tackle work the right away, it won’t overwhelm you. Try new things, accept that it takes time to reach your goals, start small and work your way up, and always start on projects early. If you can do these four things, you’ll find yourself more relaxed, more confident, and more in control of your work-life balance.