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Take a Leap Before You Grow Wings

Take a Leap Before You Grow Wings

I’ve heard leaders say they’re waiting for potential leaders to have the perfect skills and attributes before tackling a project or a new responsibility. And you know what? That day may never come.

Sometimes you’ve just got to work with what you’ve got, and once you make some headway, then amazing things are possible. That potential leader you had doubts about will step up and feel empowered. The team you didn't think was ready for change will surprise you by taking your idea of improvement and adding several valuable suggestions of their own.

The perfect time to start something never, ever arrives, and you just stay stuck repeating the same conversations over and over again like a broken record.

Sometimes it is enough to have faith. Sometimes it is enough to know that things are lining up, and even though they’re not all quite in place, it’s possible to take a leap before you grow wings.

You’ve probably heard that old adage: “We’re building the plane while we’re in mid-air.” It’s a common scenario for start-ups and a perfect analogy for this scenario. If you waited for absolutely everything to fall into place, you’d never get anywhere.

It’s hairy and it’s scary to be building a plane at 30,000 feet, not having all the parts, hardly able to read the instruction manual, worried about navigating safely to the destination, and not even entirely sure who’s flying the damn thing…but it’s an amazing ride!

We learn by doing.

Aristotle put it nicely: “The things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. We are what we repeatedly do. And on that, we also learn from failure not from success.” In fact, "Failure is success if we learn from it!"

It’s not until you are in the thick of it, with skin in the game that you identify what’s possible, what’s going well, what’s not working, and how you might be able to move forward.

You can be as prepared as you like, you can have this big audacious vision, you can do some reverse engineering, you can work your way backwards and create milestones and carefully map out your step-by-step action plan...but at some point, you’ve just got to leap and make a start!

None of us actually know what’s coming next, and there will be obstacles and problems and fantastic opportunities we could never have dreamed of. So while planning is good, it’s not everything.

[Related: Why You Should Put Your Fears Aside and Act on Your Own Business Ideas]

Just go for it.

Momentum is an amazing thing. Once you start talking and creating movement, action, and excitement, then things start happening around you.

Think you can’t start a business without a logo? That’s not true. Think you can’t really define your target market so you shouldn’t be advertising? Not true, either. Think you’d like to get out and start telling people about your idea, but don’t because you haven’t got all the details figured out? Hmmm.

You’d be crazy to let any of these things slow you down or hamstring you, but I’ve seen people do it, much to their chagrin.

[Related: Replace Limiting Beliefs With Success Stories]

Build it and they will come.

When you start "doing," you’ll discover countless things you didn’t know before. You’ll find your "tribe" (your target market), you’ll get a feeling for the business’s personality, and your brand will mature. And when you’re actually right in the thick of your business or project, you’ll be surprised by the avenues that open up before you, enabling growth and expansion.

Business modeling, business planning, budgeting – they’re all important tools on the pathway to success, but don’t fall into the trap of "paralysis by analysis." You’ve got to have a level of flexibility.

Remember: Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits. Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes it meaningful and adventurous.

[Related: Three Ways Women Can Turn Fear of Failure Into Fearless Action]


Catherine Plano works one-on-one with women to help them reconnect with themselves. In 2012, she launched the I AM WOMAN Project, which is now a global weekly podcast where women from all over the world share their stories.

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