It’s a chilly Sunday morning in Soho. I’m writing this at the Soho Collective, the space where DrivenWoman groups meet monthly in London. I’m looking out of the beautiful arched windows and I think about the exciting January I have ahead of me. The DrivenWoman concept is expanding and new people are taking on groups in London and abroad. The first DrivenWoman group is launching in Helsinki in two weeks and other regions may follow later this year.
I should really be finalising material for Thursday when I’ll get together with all the new group leaders for a day of training and inspiration. But first I want to capture my thoughts about what makes DrivenWoman different and why I think what we do is so fundamentally important.
Did I know that one day DrivenWoman would be expanding like this? No. Is everything going according to a well crafted plan? No. I had a vision and an idea of the things I wanted to do, but I could have never predict exactly how things would pan out.
The only reason we’ve got here is we were doing things and we tolerated uncertainty long enough.
With DrivenWoman we took the first step immediately after me and Jennifer had the ‘aha moment’ in May 2013. We didn’t let ‘will this idea work‘ -type of analysis and self deflating reasoning creep in. I opened this blog two weeks after we decided the world needed a different kind of women’s group, and the first session was held a month later.
We simply dived straight in. No second guessing. None of this ‘let’s take these courses first’ or ‘let’s read these ten books first’ or ‘let’s do a survey first’. We didn’t try to figure out if this makes sense by any other way than actually doing this.
Was ours the right approach? I don’t know. Did we make a lot of mistakes? I’m sure we did and we will keep making. But we got here. We didn’t procrastinate. We made it happen.
In a world with a lot of uncertainty it’s only natural many of us are looking for ‘the sure thing’. You want to know in advance what you get, what the end result is going to be. If your idea, or dream is going to succeed. So you end up reading a lot of self development books, going to success seminars and signing up to websites that promise to change your life in three weeks. It sounds less risky than just starting and doing.
It’s good to enrich your mind and soul, but nothing beats doing. And surprisingly doing will often be the less risky option. Doing can be cheaper because it’s immediate (you don’t lose time.) And you get instant rewards.
Don’t await for the day of certainty, that wonderful day when you know exactly what to do. That day will never come.
Because all the information is hidden in the ‘doing’.
Women need to shift from from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that – and I’ll learn doing it.” Sheryl Sandberg
When you start doing something, anything, information is immediately unlocked and given to you. This is independent of your perceived success or failure. (You define your own measure of success, and failure is only a temporary setback designed to help you learn faster.) A phone call, a morning run, opening a personal blog – a small step to the universe may be a decisive step for you.
Pondering things in your head, “should I do this, or shouldn’t I”, there’s only one way to find out. And the longer you postpone it the more you lose time. The days will turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months. All this time you could have been gathering information by doing, by succeeding and by failing.
The rewards of doing are immediate:
1) Doing new, slightly scary things gives you fresh information. Staying safe and just doing what you know stops you from learning.
2) Doing helps you learn faster. Reading and studying may sound like learning, but unless you put what you’ve learned into practise you haven’t really learned anything. Every piece of information has to be adapted to your own life and towards your goals to become valuable. This you can only get by doing.
3) Doing can be fun in itself. Discover the satisfaction of doing something you enjoy, even if the end result is not that useful. Not everything has to be lined up with goals!
4) Doing makes you interesting. Who do you want to talk to, a person who talks about her opinions about people who do stuff, or a person who can share what she is doing herself?
5) Doing takes you outside of your comfort zone (unless you always do the same old thing..) And that makes you feel brave. But you’ll feel brave only afterwards, not before doing. (I often feel silly and scared before I do new things.)
6) Doing connects you to other people. Doing new things will get you new friends and new connections. When you start doing things you usually connect with others, ask for help, network or meet people for advice. As soon as you let the world know what you want by doing it, it can start helping you to achieve it. No one is going to give you positive feedback or a good connection if you are simply reading a self help book at home!
7) Doing helps you to cut out the crap. When you gear yourself to ‘doing’ you will become more focused because you start to value your time. Doing things that satisfy you and take you towards your goals will help you prioritise and drop things that are not that important.
Don’t start by learning what you are going to do. Instead, start doing what you want, then learn what you have to.
The reason we don’t act on our dreams is that there’s always something we seemingly have to do first before we can take a crack at what we want. Some call it preparation, I call it excuses. Too much preparation turns a goal into a project for ‘someday’.
“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. – Tim Ferris
My dream is that with a help of DrivenWoman we can make ‘doing new things’ as easy and acceptable as a loaf of sliced bread. It should be something we don’t have to be worried about, something that we are always willing to try.
Slightly scary things.
Things we have not done before.
Things we might fail doing.
I’m dreaming of a day when doing is more important the result. A day when our ego can sit quietly in the corner and we stop caring what other people say about the new things we try.
I vision a day when sharing your failures and successes comes naturally to all as we begin to understand that it’s simply part of the journey.