“Fuck Yeah, or No!” That was a life philosophy that I shared with you a few months ago. It’s served me well over the years and I hope you’ve gotten value from it. Today I’d like to share another life principle that I follow: Dive in and figure it out.
No, I’m not branding a slogan similar to Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In.” “Dive in and figure it out” refers to my attitude toward starting things when I’m scared and unsure.
Before I started my first company, I was terrified at starting things I didn’t know how to do. I would pretend to do a lot of research, convincing myself I was educating myself to properly prepare myself for the next step. The reality was, I was scared and I was delaying the start. This quote from “How I Met Your Mother” perfectly sums up my feelings toward starting a company five years ago.
But then a funny thing happened. I dived in…and I figured it out.
Taking that first step is so hard. I’ve seen people struggle with it. I’ve urged friends to go for it. Why? Because I know it’s worth it. Since I first dove in, starting things has gotten easier (but execution is still hard).
Five years ago, I would have never started a software company. I don’t know how to code or design. I’m not an expert at product development. Yet, here I am, the founder of a software company. I still don’t know what I’m doing. But I’m doing it. I’m learning along the way. Some lessons are more expensive than others, but I keep moving. I keep learning. I push myself to make it work, and I’m figuring it out.
The dirty secret that no one ever tells you is that no one really knows what they’re doing/talking about. Yes, even these experts you see on TV or speaking at big conferences. Listen to them. They’re just making prognostications based on their opinions. How many times are they actually right? Much lower than you might think. But why are they considered a thought leader? They dive in, even when they’re not ready.
I really believe that every successful person has started their ventures before they were truly ready. It’s just like parenthood, you’re never ready. You can only dive in, do your best, and figure it out. Guess what? There have been a ton of really wonderful people born to parents who “weren’t ready.”
Everyone suffers from self-doubt. We all have fears. But those who really succeed are much better at not letting their fears hold them back. They dive in. They figure it out.
Since I’ve learned to just dive in and figure it out, I’ve been much happier. Yes, there is still a lot of anxiety and delusional laughter, but I get through it. It may not always be pretty, but once you get over starting something, you can focus solving actual problems.
What are you scared of? What’s holding you back? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter to chat, or email me first name last name at gmail.