How to begin

‘So many fail because they don’t get started – they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia. They don’t begin.’  W. Clement Stone

Creating legacy and taking action

Creating legacy is very much about taking action. It’s fine to spend a few days, weeks, or months planning, but eventually you have to start working on your legacy projects. You have to begin.

Where should you begin?

With some projects, where to begin is very obvious. If you’re writing a book, you may want to decide on its structure, maybe plan out the different chapters, start with the chapter that you feel the most comfortable writing etc.

But with other legacy projects, there is no obvious beginning point. If you’re writing a blog, for example, or choreographing a dance, where should you begin?

Beginning anywhere

Choreographer Twyla Tharp had this problem of where to begin when asked to choregraph her first professional dance. She solved the problem by stamping her foot on the ground, alone in the middle of a large empty room, and shouting ‘begin!’ – and the stamping of the foot is how she decided to begin her piece.

When the area you are working on is as fluid as creating a dance piece, it is best not to let yourself too paralysed about where to begin – just do something, and that will be your beginning. Don’t let lack of constraints become a problem – set your own constraints – arbitrarily if you must.

Tips for beginning

The beginning is often extremely hard, because you are so terrified of messing up – so as soon as you got that done, just think of having gotten over a really hard bit. You’ve just gotten over your first milestone.

At the beginning, the most important thing is to build up momentum. So don’t worry too much about the quality of what you are doing – you can fix the quality later, at the moment just focus on getting things going. If your initial ‘beginning’ is really bad, you can even scrap it altogether; that happens a lot, so don’t feel bad about it, and certainly don’t feel like you are wasting time. Even if you end up scrapping it, the beginning will set everything else in motion, so it will still have served a crucial function even if you later replace it with something different.

And finally – don’t set yourself too high a target for your beginning. If you’re beginning your book, don’t set too high a word count to start off with; it’s better to meet your target really quickly and then be really excited about the next day, rather than draining yourself of energy and motivation from the very start.

What about you?

How do you begin your legacy projects? What constraints do you set yourself to get started? Let us know by writing in the comments section.

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Alexa Ispas

I am a social entrepreneur, blogger, and talent scout, interested in helping people who want to create legacy. I have recently completed my PhD thesis in social psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and am originally from Romania. I am writing a daily blog on creating legacy, which you can find at www.alexaispas.com