New projects are exciting.  Whether it’s the idea of a home renovation, a new business, or a career overhaul, as long as those ideas reside safely in our imaginations, they can be as wildly successful and stress free as we want them to be.  But, the moment you think to commit a step forward, it becomes paralyzingly scary.  Why?  The possibility of failure, of embarrassment, of disappointment, become all too real. And if you are like me, you start procrastinating.  (The reason why I’m writing this piece less than 5 hours before its deadline.)  Although I’ve coached many on their personal launches and having launched many different endeavors, I can tell you that it never gets any easier.  But, if you know these 5 things, it can help you forward a lot  faster.  At the end of the day, you have agency and can choose to either start or procrastinate.

Sanyin Siang

Sanyin Siang

You don’t need to have all the answers.  We all fall into the trap of having to know everything before we feel like we can move forward.  Instead, give in to your curiosity and treat the launch process as a discovery process.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn new things, to reach out and engage old friends and new mentors, and to learn about yourself.

You are luckier than you realize.   You just don’t know it yetWhile writing The Launch Book, I had a particularly tough morning of writer’s block.  I walked into my neighborhood coffee shop and saw this quote on the windows. “Today is a lucky day.  The signs are everywhere.”  The sign sparked an entire chapter.  So when you hit obstacles, look to your surroundings and see opportunities and inspiration that have been there all along. They are just waiting for you to notice.

Don’t get stuck on your failures.  It’s tempting to beat ourselves up when things don’t go as planned and stay in that moment. Instead, figure out what went wrong, learn from it, and apply it to the next iteration.  Move forward by seeing it as one point in a longer continuum.

Learn from what went right.  If something goes just as you’ve planned, that’s great!  We have a tendency to gloss over successes when we need to do the type of analysis that we do with failures.   We need to take the time to learn from our successes and apply it to hit success in the next iteration.

Don’t miss an opportunity to pay it forward.    It’s easy to think that we’ll have to wait until we hit a certain point of success until we can start giving back.  For example, reach a certain career level before we can mentor others.  We all have something valuable to contribute each step of the way – whether it’s advice, connections, and having this mentality isn’t only energizing, but it connects us more deeply to those around us.  Doing so will also give you the perspective to move forward.

By Sanyin Siang

Author, The Launch Book published by LID Publishing; Exec. Director, Coach K Leadership Ctr @ Duke Fuqua Biz School; Advisor, Google Ventures