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Why is the first step always the hardest?  RSS feed

 
Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I've been working on motivating myself to keep going on to do bigger and better things with my life for... well... forever. I guess.  I often find that the things that I'm most proud of accomplishing are the same things that I was -at first- most fearful of attempting.  Taking that first step in a new direction is a difficult task at times and sometimes I find myself putting things off for longer than I need to.  Sometimes, I never get to a task at all.  I have a list  a mile long that sometimes haunts me.  Eventually I hit a point where what I'm working on, forces me out of my comfort zone and I just NEED to deal with my fears.  These are my shining moments, because in that moment I DO face my fears and I rise to the challenge... most of the time.  I avoid things/tasks/people that cause anxiety, stress and aggravation.  Recently, I've been re-examining myself and trying to find good ways to use my fears as compost for growing a better "ME".   Here's two things I came up with today in an effort to work in that direction.

I hope this is of some use to others who deal with anxiety and stress by avoiding and hiding. 








How do you motivate yourself over these hurdles?




 
Travis Johnson
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I disagree, for me the hardest part is not starting, it is finishing strong. Starting takes motivation, but I have always been a motivated person, it is when I near the middle that I start to get discouraged. "I am only part way", I lament to myself, then think about how hard it has been, and how so much has yet to be done...oh the halfway point is troubling times indeed. That just makes holding out and finishing strong that much harder! But that is what matters! That is where to put your greatest effort. That is where the reward is! Not partially completed. Not done with ho-hum plodding, but with zeal and pride!!

Starting out, that matters too and comes in a VERY close second place in my opinion. You gotta start. And for every project that gets proposed, 15 people will have reasons why it can't...it just plain should not be started. To some degree there is merit in that, it sorts through a pile of jumbled plans and solidifies them, but as a whole, people are procrastinators. I tend to be a go-getter, yet know 15 people will say it should not be done, could not possibly be done, and yet in the end it is.

This past year I took on a big land clearing job; 18 acres on the side of a mountain and people said we were stupid to try and tackle the project. "It would take 5 years to clean up", they said, and yet after starting, it only took 5 weeks. They had no vision. You gotta start. And that was our goal, to start, and once we did, some benefactors came along side, wrote out some heavily inked checks to this non-profit organization, and a professional contractor came in and took up where we left off. Some thought I was upset, but that was our goal all along; to just get started. Once the ball is in motion, people like to see it completed and it was. Me and and the guy in charge of this non-profit organization knew that, and ultimately had a great project completed, well under budget and in record time. Best of all, I did not have to put my bulldozer up on the side of that mountain!

So in conclusion, I would say the hardest part is putting 110% into the project at the end where it does the most good, while the middle is the most discouraging, and the beginning is just resisting the urge to cave into the procrastinators and push through and just start.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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On any given project I certainly agree with you Travis.  Procrastination is a hurdle and so is staying motivated though the middle of and end of a long task or project. I'm in total agreement with you.  I also have a lot of unfinished projects, so I'm not the best in that department.   LOL

I think what I'm referring to in the OP is that some hurdles simply present themselves as a wall to some people in a way that they just can't bear down and force their way through.  Think about things like PTSD, fear or failure, social acceptance, all of the -phobias.  The second video I think touches a lot on this.  Kids exhibit this behavior too and it good to have  a strategy to help them through their fears as well.

For example, let's say I have fear of confrontation or conflict. (I used to).  Let's also say that I want to build a new barn and that's going to require me to contact builders, lumberyards, sawmills, carpenters...  you get the idea.  I'm ok with all of that work of dealing with those folks and we all get on the same page to get this barn built. Then one day during construction, the electrician gets in a fight with a carpenter and they go at it like angry bears.  This is out of my comfort zone for sure, but because it's happening on my land, I have to do SOMETHING.  I have to overcome the fear of confrontation and conflict, in order to bring my project to fruition.  I can handle that now, whereas before I might have just gone inside and called the cops.  I learned to stand up straight and lay down the law of my land.  Conflict resolved, the builders go back to work and I get my barn and they all get paid. Nobody goes to the hospital or jail.  All in all a good outcome given the minor trouble of the fight.  Without the ability to deal with that immediately, who knows what could happen. 

Now let's take it one step back to the point where I'm just planning to build the barn and I mentally run through what ALL of the possible bad things that could happen in the whole process.  My fear of confrontation and conflict might cause me to find alternative ways to build my barn that won't include variables such as "too many people", on site at one time.   Or, I may choose to do it all myself and then I have to put off other projects and then the snowball effect of undone tasks eventually catches up and I give up entirely.  Exhausted and defeated.  In the OP I was trying to convey a method that I use to improve my ability to overcome those seen or unseen obstacles that might derail me or others. 

As it relates to permies, I'm working hard to make improvements to this site so that it's easier for some of the other members to engage with topics or tools that they may not be familiar with.  I'm trying to come up with methods of motivating others to come out of their shells and to participate more in discussions and in moderation, because I think that it helps all of us when more of us can help carry the  load.  One of the biggest hurdles that I'm finding in people's way, is that they are scared to make a mistake, or to ask a "dumb question".  I think that it's the fear and anxiety that stops people before they even start.  Certainly procrastination is part of it for  some people.

I hope that helped to clear up where I was going with that ramble of mine.  I really appreciate your feedback because you hit on the next really big thing I was thinking of, which is: How do we stay motivated when there's so much other stuff we'd rather be doing?  Work before play and delaying gratification. Sacrificing now, for later. 




 
Travis Johnson
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Okay I understand better myself. Sorry to make you type so much, and thank you for not being upset with me when I first disagreed, though I was the one off topic.

Our pastor at church went through conflict and how to deal with it, and one thing I learned is that I can be kind of passive-agrressive, so I am a bit different than you. In that land clearing job, we had the Dept of Environmental Protection show up and I was ready to go toe to toe with them. I am not a big fan of them anyway and have gone to court on the wrong end of their lawyer once and am not afraid to do so again. But the guy running the place was more passive, took a different approach, kept me well away from them, and in the end it all worked out.

I can see how others may be like what you describe, but that is not me. What I found out Craig, is that I start a lot of projects, it just takes me a long time to carry them out. That is because I try and do things myself. Like right now I am converting 30 acres of forest into field...an ambitious project. I could just pay a logging contractor to come in and mow it down, but instead I am logging it. I will get all the money for the trees instead of 1/3, and probably will market the wood better to boot. It has taken me an entire years so far, and I am only half way through removing the trees, but once started on a project, I will carry it out. Its just that I often take so long, people question if I will finish it. I will...in due time.

I think some of that is just vision. I can just envision what something will look like before I start. Barn, forest converted into a field; I can just see it in its final splendor. My wife, she really can't just now, after removing half the trees on that forest-into-field project, she can just start to see it take shape. So I think some of that plays into starting a project. It is pretty hard to get invested and started in a project if you are not sure what the final result will be.

 
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