Making Progress When You're Not Sure How.

You can't make progress without uncertainty.

That's tough to hear. It's tougher to go through.

You're not weak because you're afraid. You're human.

When you try something new, you're destined to experience failure. That's not comfortable or fun. It makes you feel horrible.

And just thinking about it is enough to keep you paralyzed and inactive.

That's what uncertainty is all about -- knowing you don't want to fail, but not sure how to avoid it.

Most people will avoid doing anything, hoping that playing it safe won't lead to failure. They won't have to be afraid. That inspiration will find them when it wants to find them.

But that's ridiculous.

Inspiration won't find you. It's up to you to go after it. It's on you to demand success for yourself.

Which means you're going to have to go through failure.

You're going to have to perform at a high level even when you're not sure that what you're doing is the exact right thing you should be doing.

So how do you do that?

What's the secret to making progress when you're not sure how?

Progress comes down to two things: 

  1. Do the best thing you know to do.
  2. Keep taking small steps forward.

That's it. Be smart. Keep moving.

Have you ever been hiking with your friends through some trails and come across a stream that is knee-deep? You could step in the cold, rushing water and make your way across the trail of the other side. But you want to stay dry.

So what do you do?

You use the rocks that are popping out of the water as your bridge from where you are to where you want to be. And since the stones are not all lined up perfectly for you, you have to jump forward (and sometimes backwards) from left to right to left until you get to the other side.

It's not a straight line. Each jump forward isn't the same distance. But if you keep your balance and keep moving, you'll make it to the other side with your shoes dry.

You got this. One step at a time.

Think of your personal journey in the exact same way.

There is no straight line toward success. It's a series of awkward jumps forward: left, right, and sometimes backwards. Each time you land, you find your footing. Looking for the best possible place to position yourself for where you're headed next.

You don't need to be afraid of not knowing what to do. Just move towards where you want to be.

Don't be crippled by your fear. Don't let a lack of knowledge of what to do stop you from doing anything good at all. You're tough enough to do what it takes. You're smart enough to figure it out.

But nothing works if you don't work.

Fight through your fear. Push past the alarm bells telling you to be perfect. You just need to try.

Dan Waldschmidt