Start by Doing What’s Necessary

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

You’re faced with a surprise career opportunity.  Or a creative project that you’d like to get off the ground.  It’s amazing and exciting and omg isn’t this great….but really you’re scared shitless.

All of a sudden your daydreams become what keeps you up a night; there’s an endless stream of adorable sheep that leap over the hurdle you can’t even seem to measure.  Where do you begin?  How do you gain momentum?  What?  How?  When?

“Start by doing what’s necessary…”


Yep, just breathe.  Continue to breath into your belly, as slowly and calculated as you can.  After a few breathes, (or a few dozen), begin to notice what parts of your body are tense.  Un-ball your fists, unclench your teeth, and let your shoulders fall.  Now breathe again.  Sit back in your seat.  Relax a bit.  Another deep breath.

“…then do what’s possible…”

Right now, what can you do?  Go ahead- dust off your resume.  Shine it up nice, use a thesaurus.  Make a phone call.  Or finish writing that email that’s been sitting in your drafts for 2 months.  Sketch out the outline for the project.  Nothing maj, just see what you’re capable of today.

And do this again tomorrow.

Take a few breaths and gather your materials: laptop, easel and acrylic paints, pencil and paper.  Whatever you need.  Keep doing this each day, whatever is possible.  Take an online class, research and study, ask for help if you need it.  Repeat.

“…and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”

Yes, really.  You can do the impossible.  Put forth a bit of effort and allow yourself to gain momentum.  Keep going.

This may seem simplistic, but the formula really is uncomplicated: set your intention, and small-possible-step by small-possible-step, ensure that your actions support this intention.  You want to jump over that hurdle like the sleepytime sheep; set the intention of jumping over the hurdle.  Practice hurdling.  Get a hurdle coach.  Cross-train.  Stretch.  All the things that will make you a good hurdler.

Ready?  Set?  JUMP!

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For additional inspiration, listen to the podcast Sounds True: Insights at the Edge with Seth Godin: Taking the Leap.

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