This is the fourth article of a seven part series.

Step 4: Start!

The biggest problem with the climb up your mountain of success is all the people at the bottom

I’ve found that it’s the start that stops most people. The biggest obstacle people have to overcome is the actual start of the process. If they could just get started, everything would begin to happen. Most people say that they find themselves procrastinating. This is just a term that means you’re getting ready to get ready. I’ve heard that procrastination is opportunity’s assassin, and I believe it. Get you body moving and you’ll see that the mind will have no choice but to follow. The following saying is one that illustrates the point better than anything:

“Nature gave man two ends—one to sit on and one to think with. Ever since then, man’s success or failure has been dependent on the one he used most.”

I was with my father at the beach recently. As we were taking his boat out for a ride, I noticed a boat up on blocks on the shore. The name of the boat was “Momentum.” I thought this title was ironic. You can’t have momentum if you’re not moving. Time is the most valuable commodity that you can spend. Stop wasting this precious resource and get started!

Motivation is a myth

Most people think that if they could just get motivated then they would get started. That’s one of the false beliefs held by many of my athletes and clients. People think motivation is a feeling or a thought, but I believe motivation is really an action. The only way to get motivated is to get going and do it. Don’t wait for inspiration to do great things. Your competition isn’t going to wait if you’re not ready. Let your actions change you attitude and your movement change your mood. Don’t wait for the perfect time to get started. Just get started and maybe it will be perfect.

If you know what to do but don’t do what you know, does it matter that you know it?

Many people are also confused about the relationship between decision and action. I often use this riddle to illustrate my point—if three men are standing on a riverbank and two decide to jump in, how many are in the river? If you said two, correct yourself. Just because the two men decided something doesn’t mean they did anything yet. It just means that all three are still standing on the riverbank. What you must learn is that it’s not just about making a decision to do something. It’s also about the actual action of doing it! You’re only moving in the right direction when your decision equals your action.

Sir Edmund Hillary took the risk and got the reward

Everyone will always remember the name of the first man to climb Mt. Everest. Some remember the names of the next few people as well. The rest of those who made the climb live in relative obscurity. Don’t wait until you think it’s completely safe. Take the risk and go for it! A ship in the harbor is safe. But that's not what ships are built for.

When thinking about heading to the top of your mountain, you need to remember three types of people—explorers, pioneers, and settlers. Explorers are the people who go up to the peak first. They take all the risk and get all of the rewards. Pioneers are the next to head to the peak now that the first path has been carved. They still take some risk going up to the top so they too can enjoy some of the rewards as well. Settlers only show up when the path is so well trodden there’s nothing to gain from the view. You have to ask yourself, “Who do I want to be?”

The following quote demonstrates that Hillary knew the risks he needed to take on his mountain:

“We started in deep snow and there was precious little belay for the ice-axe. It was altogether most unsatisfactory and whenever I felt feelings of fear I'd say to myself, ‘Forget it! This is Everest and you've got to take a few risks.’”

You can’t swim if you’re still holding on to the side of the pool

Plain and simple—to get to the top, you have to leave the bottom. Dr. Rob Gilbert, the greatest motivational coach I’ve ever known, gave me a great four-step plan to make sure you get started and keep going.

  1. Make the commitment
  2. Make it public
  3. Make it happen
  4. Make no exceptions

If you follow these steps, you’ll be forced to move closer to your dream. It’s not what’s happening around you or happening to you but what’s happening inside of you. You have the power of choice to get going. No matter what type of greatness you seek, the first step is the same—you have to show up at the base of the hill.