If you want to do something, you must do faster than you doubt. Like a boxing match, in the ring on the left corner you have "do"--that's the belief that tomorrow can be better than today. In the right corner of the ring, you have the opponent, "doubt"--that's the fear that you will fail. The faster you act, the more certain you will become, getting quick wins and building up momentum. Wait too long and doubt will grow until it becomes a titanium wall of resistance. You no longer have the mental toughness, the "willpower" (grit) and "way power" (purpose) to keep going.
Here are five ways to do faster than doubt.
1. Embrace Constraints.
You must disrupt your usual ways of thinking in order to do faster than doubt. Nick Woodman of GoPro lives by this credo. He took a risk and gave himself a ten-year timeline to become a successful entrepreneur. Setting a self-imposed constraint is a proven way to get momentum and close the gap from talk to action. Such constraints require you to rediscover your essential purpose and improvise new ways of doing things. In this case, it was Woodman bootstrapping his idea on a shoestring using basic materials such as rubber bands and cellophane tape.
2. Avoid The Perfection Trap.
Don't wait for the mirage of perfection to arrive before you start a business or leave a company. It will never happen and can result in extreme stress or worse. Many entrepreneurs are trapped in this self-sabotaging mindset. Imagine if Airbnb or Uber had held back until all the possible fixes had been made? They probably would not be where they are today. Wait for perfection and opportunities are lost forever.
3. Think Like A Startup.
Today change is the norm. Thinking like a startup gives you a huge advantage in this new world where fast beats slow. You adapt quickly, duck hazards, and grab opportunities faster than larger, sleepier competitors. You must also work within tight constraints that can force more creativity. And you're expected to own who you are and challenge established ways of doing things. The head of MIT's Media Lab, Joi Ito says: "The amount of money, and the amount of permission that you need to create an idea has decreased dramatically, whether it's Wikipedia, Yahoo, Facebook, or Google. They didn't have to ask for permission, and didn't even need to raise money to do it. They just did it." You can do it too.
4. Cut Through The Noise.
Purpose and walking your why are essential for cutting through distractions and engaging those around you to get the job done. Remember, when you say yes to something you say no to something else. It's easier to waste time when you don't know what your why. If success sometimes means being selfish, so be it. Successful entrepreneurs walk their why every day and know the difference between busy work and best work.
5. 960 Months.
Time is precious. Nine hundred sixty months is the amount of time you may have on this planet if you're lucky. The number translates to eighty years of age -- 29,200 days to be exact! When I discovered I'd already used up more than 500 of my 960 months, my mouth fell open in shock. Sadly, we spend so much of our precious time committing to a job we don't believe in or a career that leaves us feeling like a shadow of our former selves. Knowing the number of months you have left can help you do more and doubt less. You have nothing to lose.
Doing faster than doubt is about taking control of your vision rather than someone else hiring you to fulfill theirs. Get started, have a clear destination, fail fast, test ideas lightly and often, and know that those who build the future hold two beliefs: (1) your are the CEO of your own life and (2) you have the resources to make it happen.