You have a passion that burns in your belly.
It's a yearning to give back to others in way that's uniquely and expressly you.
But sometimes it's difficult to put that urge into clear, actionable words.
And the lack of clarity makes you stuck.
While in the stuck state, you might be waiting for a "Doc Moment." A Doc Moment comes from the film Back to the Future when the Doc hits his head on the toilet and gets a vision for the Flux Capacitor enabling him to build a time machine out of a DeLorean.
But I'm here to tell you something: Doc Moments rarely happen at the beginning of a journey. If they happen at all, it's usually after you've gone through ample rounds of trial and error (as was the case with Dr. Emmett Brown).
The reason why Doc Moments are rare at the beginning of a journey is because solutions usually arrive after lots and lots of one thing: action.
Only so much clarity can come to you within the confines of your mind. Action is the best way to get clear about what works best for you.
This is precisely why it's so important to take action even if you're not sure what you want. Otherwise, you can get stuck in "analysis paralysis" where all your amazing ideas swim around your head and never see the light of day.
But how do you take action when your vision is fuzzy, or you have competing interests?
I'm going to reveal to you a secret formula on how to do just that: (1) take small, bite-sized action, (2) ask yourself after "how did that feel?" (3) make adjustments if necessary, and (4) and try again.
The formula is easy to grasp, but sometimes hard to implement, so the following are 6 ways to put your passion into action when you're not sure what you want.
1. Avoid over-reading the research
If you're spending all of your time reading about your passion - what other people are doing and what the latest statistics are showing - then you're not putting yourself or your ideas out there.
Researching about your passions is a great place to start, but if you're perpetually dreaming and scheming about what you want without actually stepping out in the world to see how it feels, then you'll never really know whether or not (1) your idea works or (2) it's something you want to devote your time and energy to.
2. Start with your best guess
Consider the people you admire most: the entrepreneurs who took a risk, the writers who wrote something spectacular, the corporate lawyer who quit her job to start a catering company. None of those people knew exactly what their vision was when they first started.
They all started by taking action on their best guess. Then, they followed the secret formula. They also embraced #3.
3. Get comfortable with taking action that you know isn't exactly right
Even if you know your best guest isn't exactly right, take action anyway. Don't allow this to be an opportunity to procrastinate, because (1) your first step will never be your best step, and (2) an average first step is leaps and bounds better than no first step at all.
At this stage, don't strive for perfection. Strive to do your best. To quote Seth Godin, "At some level, 'this might not work' is at the heart of all important projects, of everything new and worth doing."
4. Make your actions bite-sized
If you're not sure what you want, you likely fear taking action that ends up being "wasted time." First of all, there is no wasted time. It's all part of your growth, development, and understanding of what you most want and don't want.
To help you overcome this fear (and a myriad of others) make your actions teeny tiny. Don't start with: "finish first draft of novel." Instead, start with: "draft one paragraph."
5. See all past efforts as valuable feedback (not failure)
Do not use your lack of clarity as an invitation to self-criticize. Clarity through action takes time. Clarity doesn't come overnight. It's a long-term process that requires determination and perseverance (remember, Doc Moments are rare).
Instead of labeling your actions a failure, check in to see how the action made you feel. If your actions made you feel free and expansive, you're on the right track. If instead, they made you feel constricted and strained, then adjustments are needed.
6. Push on the edges of your comfort zone
In his book Tribes, Seth Godin uses the term "fearless heretics" to describe those who are willing to be bold and break the rules. He asserts that a fearless heretic will have more success with a good idea than someone with an extraordinary idea who plays it safe.
Don't stay cocooned in your comfort zone. Instead, push up against your edges in a way that feels both challenging and freeing.
To recap, here is the secret formula to taking action on your passion even when you're not sure what you want:
1. Take small action towards the best guess of what you want
2. Reflect on how the action made you feel
3. Make adjustments as necessary
4. Return to step 1
So I challenge you to start taking action to pursue your passion...today.
Remember that you're on a journey of discovery, and it's the journey that is the juiciest part (not the destination). So try once and try again until you know you're on the right track.
With each action step you take, your vision will get sharper, your days will be more joyous, and your creations will better showcase the true you.
I'd love to know. Has a lack of clarity ever preventing you from taking action? Post a comment below.