Have you ever wondered how Florence Nightingale reformed health care? Or how Emma Walmsley became the first female CEO to run a major pharmaceutical company? Or how Elizabeth Iro came to be the chief nursing officer at the World Health Organization?
They likely started before they were ready.
This might seem illogical, but it’s true. It’s worked for me many times.
When we have an idea for a project, a job we aspire to have or a goal we hope to achieve, most of us are met with resistance and hesitation. We tell ourselves phrases like: “I don’t know enough.” “I don’t have permission.” “I’ve never done this before. I have no business doing it.”
“Who do I think I am?” “It’s not the right time.” “I need to do more research.”
While there is something to be said for taking your time and making sure things are just right, there comes a point when we hesitate to avoid risk.
Training is necessary before prescribing medications and inserting catheters, but it’s entirely possible and acceptable to begin a project, launch a business, run a company, build a service or write a book without much expertise.
I began volunteering in a nursing home when I was twelve and started a home care service when I was sixteen. I didn’t know much about older adults or running a business, but it didn’t matter. I learned a lot and many doors were opened for me.
Twenty years later and I’m realizing that the only way to do meaningful and interesting work and overcome fear and self-doubt is to simply begin.
When we start before we’re ready, we learn, we grow, we change, and we experience things we never anticipated. We get opportunities that might never have happened had we planned or waited for the right time.
When you find yourself thinking of getting ready to start something (and stalling) remember that the 6 o’clock news doesn’t start because it’s ready. It starts because it’s 6 o’clock.
If no one’s life or limb is at stake, begin before you’re ready.