"You don’t have to be great to start, but you must start to be great." -Zig Ziglar
“So, when are you going to get started?” my friend asked with a tone that was, no mistaking it, served with a challenge. This question came a few months ago during one of our many talks about my dream product idea. “I KNOW!” I responded, with sound effects and facial expressions that were meant to convey impatience, frustration and helplessness. As if I had been trying, all along, over these last few years to Just. Get. Started. The truth is, I was still moseying up to the starting line, and the only real action I had taken was limited to moving my lips. Yes, I had done a lot of talking. ONLY talking. Always feeling a sense of counterfeit accomplishment when someone praised my idea as a great one.
This time, she called me out - “No, seriously…when? What’s stopping you?”.
Can I get a witness?! Have you ever found yourself two, four or even more years down the road from your great idea, having never took the action required to bring it to life? Have you found yourself no closer to taking that risk? No closer to seeing if what you dreamt in the clouds could be a life-changer, or at least a boost to your joy-meter?
That is where I was. And, for the first time, I couldn’t stomach the thought of being in the exact same place in another year. I knew if I pushed it off again I’d be bored with my talk, tortured by “if-only” and, possibly, deeply saddened by “it’s too late” (which of course, it never is). I'd maybe have to face an even crueler realization of finding out someone else had already done what I dreamed of doing.
With that in mind, I did it. I started. I took a step. Just one. And that step led me to another. And now, after months of “firsts”, I am on my way to launching my product.
It’s been so much fun! But, it has also been frustrating, stressful, overwhelming and challenging. It has been mostly hard. I have had many moments of wanting to just give-up. A lot of building your own “something” means you must do things that you are either unprepared for, unfamiliar with or uncomfortable doing – like raising money. You know what has kept me going? Looking back on how far I’ve come, the passion I still feel about my idea and the need I see for my product. And, in those times when I can’t see the road I've traveled, I am blessed to have my husband, business partners or a good friend remind me.
I know that doesn’t sound very “go-getter” or “entrepreneurial” of me but it’s honest. And just maybe, it is exactly how others feel when trying to give life to something that doesn’t even exist yet except for in the mind. And I know I am not alone. I’m not the only one juggling balls labeled full-time career, husband, mommy, friendships, mentor, mentee, exercise, aging parent…whew! Maybe you're juggling different items, but juggling you are.
So, if you find yourself in a similar place as I was at the start of the year, please allow me to ask “what’s stopping you?’. Hear me, for I am cheering you on in as loud a voice as I can express through a keyboard and screen. Take the first step or that next step you’ve put off…just keep going. Make a list of what those steps are and tell someone. Then just do one of them. Give others permission to ask about your progress. You’ll be amazed at how a little accountability helps your motivation.
There are many days I still struggle. But when I look back at all I’ve learned in this process to bring Aboki Box to children across America, I’m amazed. Everything from starting an LLC, trademarking a name, sourcing fun and unique items, to working with the right brand designer and web developer…and so much more. I know in my heart of hearts that there is no way I can stop now.