I distinctly remember the moment when I stood up in the classroom, walked to the teacher’s desk, and dropped my SAT booklet down in front of her. “I’m done!” I confidently said as I spun around to walk out.
As I headed toward the door, I turned back to see a swarm of eyes staring at me, full of insecurity and shock. “How could she have finished so quickly?!” they read. “She must be some sort of genius!”
And honestly, I couldn’t blame them. I was walking out two hours before we were expected to finish this section of the test.
The reason for it was quite simple: I skipped the section altogether. I don’t remember if that part was purposeful or not, but it’s highly possible that I intentionally neglected to finish it. The SAT was boring. A waste of my time. I had more important things to do like write for my Tumblr blog which featured riveting stories about my high school’s eclectic group of bus drivers.
The truth is that I never cared about school. I hated studying. I hated classrooms. I hated teachers (as teachers…but I adored them as friends and confidants).
There was some guilt associated with my distain for school. While my friends were rigorously studying for our latest science test, I’d be pretending to follow along while secretly crafting a speech to my mom on why she should let me go to the upcoming Christina Aguilera concert.
But regardless, this guilt was carried into my college experience and early twenties until I finally had the realization: I don’t care about studying, not because I’m lazy or stupid or “bad”. I don’t care because I’m a doer. I like taking action. I like leading. I like getting shit done fast even if it isn’t perfect.
And while that technique might have not served me well in academics, as an adult now running a successful online business and a community of over 15,000 followers, I can confidently say that my way wins.
People regularly ask me how I justified launching my first business with no money or experience. “Weren’t you scared? Weren’t you nervous? What was the moment that you decided to go for it?” And the truth is, there was no moment. I wasn’t scared. There wasn’t hesitation. I knew that taking action was more important than getting it right the first time, and just by putting myself out there and taking this risk, I was putting myself 10 steps ahead of every other wannabe entrepreneur who was still paralyzed with fear in their cubicles.
Moral of the story: As an adult, studying and observing and watching and reading is not the thing. Doing the thing is the thing. And while the preparation is important, it’s only 20% of the puzzle.
People who continue to act as they did when they were children with the stress-studying and crippling obsession with perfection and getting others’ approval before moving forward is ridiculous. This is what will get you good grades in 7th grade but it will not make you more money, give you a competitive edge, accelerate your growth, or help you stand out a creative influencer in your space.
You have to take a big step forward even if you aren’t sure what’s on the other side. If you do this, you will win.
And of course, this doesn’t solely apply to a business setting. It pertains to every little action that we take in our lives.
You can read 500 books on karate but it won’t help you win in a fight on the sidewalk.
You can watch 200 YouTube videos on winged eyeliner techniques but it won’t mean anything if you’re scared to put a sharp pencil near your eyeball.
You can swipe through a million guys on Tinder but if you never swipe right and agree to go on a date with someone, you’ll never have that relationship you’ve been looking for.
And of course, you can hoard every freebie from every Facebook ad you’ve ever seen, but it won’t help you get better/earn more money if you don’t have the confidence to take a risk and put those insights it into action.
See where I’m going with this?
Stop waiting and observing and studying and stressing about the “right time” (unless you’re in medical school — I don’t want someone doing surgery on me who learned it on YouTube). Just do the thing that you want to do and the results will follow.
I can guarantee you right now that whatever you’re fearing is an exaggerated perception of a scenario that most likely will never come to fruition. How do I know that? Because it’s just how life works. It’s rare that things ever turn out as horribly as you imagine.
Don’t believe me? Check this out.
When I “failed” the SAT, my parents thought I’d never get into college and would face a long, excruciating life of minimum wage jobs and a severe peanut butter addiction. Only one of those things turned out to be true.
I got into college, got a job, then started my own business, and then started an even better business. Woohoo!
When my sister made the powerful decision to enlist in the Israeli army instead of go to college, she was concerned that she’d be placed in a low-level job since she wasn’t a native Hebrew speaker. But guess what? She was placed as an IDF dog trainer. A DOG TRAINER. She got to play with puppies all day and teach them how to protect the State of Israel. Do you have any idea how badass that is?! And according to a recent pole I ran, she’s 96% cooler than everyone I know. So yeah, she won.
And last but certainly not least, my client Alex first approached with a business idea that he wasn’t sure would be successful. I told him we probably shouldn’t overthink it and should give it a try. Five weeks ago he had zero entrepreneurial experience and didn’t know what would come of this. And today, five weeks later, he has a full-blown travel business, a community of followers, a blog that is straight up #travelporn (we’re talkin’ overwater bungalows in Bora Bora and everything), a sales funnel that would make Russell Brunson cry, and a Facebook ad that has some of the most astonishingly low conversion rates I’ve ever seen. No, he’s not broke or embarrassed or a failure, which is what most people think will happen if they start a business from nothing. But no surprise, it worked!
So please, for the love of god, stop hiding and stressing and observing overthinking. Just start doing. Who are you trying to impress anyway?