Too Scared To Start? Don't Set A Goal, Try This Instead

Four Words To Change Your Life

"Dream big!" 

"The only limit is your imagination!"

"The only thing holding you back from your greatness is you!"

Don't get me wrong, I love a good motivational quote as much as the next person, but sometimes the bar for success seems so impossibly high that it is easier to just duck under it than try and launch yourself over the top.

The other day I was listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast and the TV presenter Phil Keoghan was on as a guest. He and Tim were discussing success and Phil's main point was that he believes achievement is overrated, and actually what we should be doing is just giving it a go.

Those four simple words hit me like a ton of bricks.

“Give it a go”

At that moment I realised that I had been making decisions based on the outcome that *I predicted* will happen, regardless of the pros, cons or even the likelihood of it happening. This is not necessarily a bad thing of course, except I made some pretty pessimistic predictions.

For example, I graduated from a top 10 university with top marks, but I did not apply to a single graduate level job because I thought that “everyone else would be better than me. Who would want a psychology graduate when you can have a maths genius or business guru?” Because of this, I literally spent years of my life working in low paid, unskilled, soul-sapping jobs.

I put off starting a blog, for years because I thought, “who would want to listen to my voice when there are so many other experts in the field like James Clear, Tim Urban, Ben Hardy, Seth Godin etc…” Because of this, I stayed quiet and disappointed with myself.

I even had the crazy thought, "well if I was a Doctor, then I would have something indisputably worthwhile to say and that would also give me the credentials I needed to start my own business." I only realised that it was a crazy thought, however, two years into my PhD...

I always thought of the potential consequences and not once did I consider just “giving it a go”. Instead, I played out the whole situation in my mind, and decided I wasn’t good enough so I didn’t do it!

Didn't even try.

"Give It A Go" Or Goal Setting?

If you know anything about me, you will know that I believe goal setting is the secret sauce of success. I think that when you set a goal, you create the ladder that allows you to move from dreams to reality. Goals force you to focus your efforts on creating an outcome that you want, as opposed to living one that just happens.

The "give it a go" philosophy, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of goal setting. It is non-directional, curious and exploratory. But, it might just be the mindset shift that you need to make in order to start working on that thing that you want that feels so out of reach.

To give it a go does not mean that you will be successful. Success is not the intention. 

The sole purpose of the “give it a go” philosophy is to give yourself permission to do what scares you without thinking of consequences. To find joy and achievement in the mere performance of the task and knowing that regardless of the outcome you will have learnt something about yourself and be better for it.

Now I have learnt that I can just give it a go. Giving it a go allowed me to start and it got me to this blog and business that you see today. And the cool thing is that now I've got hours and hours of practice and learning and trying and failing under my belt, I'm ready to move to goal setting.

The fear hasn't disappeared, but I am consciously aiming for that bar because for the first time I know that success is not beyond my reach.


Thank you for reading! If you have enjoyed this post please share it with a friend and let me know in the comments below, what have you not done because you have been scared of the consequences? What will you give a go? 

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Sometimes the bar for success seems so high that it is easier to duck under it than try and launch yourself over the top. What do you do when you are too scared of failing to start? #goals #failure #entrepreneur #selfimprovement #mindset #goalsetting #motivation


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