Decide & Get Started – Wisdom from Lao Tzu

Decide & StartDecide & Get Started

“The Journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”

This is probably my favourite quote of all time on the topic of starting. It’s from Lao Tzu, author of Tao Te Ching or The Way.

As we wind down the year and start thinking about the new year, it’s a good time to take stock of what new projects and initiatives you are going to take on in 2016.

I’ve just launched a new initiative called the 9 Step Formula For Marketing Success which is a system and process that I developed and tested while on the job in my role as Economic Development Officer in Prince Edward County and tested further in Peterborugh. I developed and used this formula over time to create significant economic change in the community. At the moment it is packaged into a “Cheat Sheet” however it will likely become an e-book, a webinar, a course, a “talk” for public speaking and a coaching & consulting service.

Not surprisingly, “Decide” as in decide and get started is the first step from “Cheat Sheet” and is a really good place to start as we wrap up 2015 and think about our plans for 2016.

When I grew up one of my Dad’s expressions was “do it”, then Nike came along and said “Just Do It”. I think you get the point. When thinking about a new project or initiative one of the most difficult things to do is to get started.

The key to any successful endeavour is first to decide. Decide that you are going to take on a new project, initiative or venture and then just start. Don’t overthink your initiative or make it too complicated. Break it down into some very simple steps.

I’d start with three steps. Ask yourself what are the 3 things that I could do now to get my project started? Sometimes starting is the hardest thing to do, however starting creates its own momentum. Once you start, you are off to the races and you can build on your momentum from there.

My three things I start with are to:

  1. Define the project and its scope and outline the goals
  2. Create a timeline
  3. Budget / resource allocation

Ideally your project involves other people, collaborators and or partners. If this is the case get one or more of your partners to become part of your accountability team.


A newish trend in the digital entrepreneurial world is something called a mastermind group. In a program that I have recently joined I was connected with like minded entrepreneurs to create a mastermind group. We “meet” once a week on Skype as we are geographically disperse and we have a simple agenda ….

Mastermind Agenda

1. Everyone quickly reports on progress versus their objectives declared the week before. (10-15 minutes)

2. Either one person (rotating) brings up a key challenge and everyone contributes advice/perspectives (problem solving clinic) OR – in a smaller group – each member can take a part of the time and discuss one key challenge. (30-40 minutes)

3. Everyone declares what they will achieve in the next week.  This gets written down and brought up the week after. (10 minutes)

Here is some more information on mastermind groups. One more great resource is this podcast from Amy Porterfield. It’s no to be missed.

Being in a Mastermind group is a great way to start a project due to the accountability and support that comes with being part of the group. I strongly suggest establishing a mastermind group for your overall work or next project.

Beyond Masertmind here are some helpful tips to starting a project.

Tip 1: Nail Down Project Details

Tip 2: Identify Project and Team Requirements

Tip 3: Be the Project Leader

Tip 4: Define Critical Project Milestones

Tip 5: Keep the Communication Lines Open

Tip 6: Attain Pertinent Documentation

Tip 7: Manage Project Risks

Tip 8: Avoid Scope Creep

Tip 9: Test Deliverables

Tip 10: Evaluate the Project

Author David Allen, of How to Get Started with Getting Things Done. Has some great ideas too. Here are his top recommendations.

Clear the Decks

GOAL: Record all your commitments to free up mental energy and start accomplishing things.

Empty Your Inbox

GOAL:  Break tasks down into actionable steps.

Feed Your “Trusted System”

GOAL:  Put your action steps into categories where you can review and complete them easily.

Repeat Weekly

GOAL: Set aside time each week to review your action lists, so that no items go uncompleted.

Get Things Done

GOAL: As small action items move off your lists, contemplate larger projects and life goals.

The Big Idea – Making GTD Work

Allen says you must address all your commitments, personal and professional, for GTD to really work; the smallest cracks in your implementation create larger problems. For example, when a to-do list is not exhaustive, Allen says you lose trust in it, and you’re actually less likely to accomplish every item than if the list were complete but much longer.

Hopefully, I’ve provided some good food for thought on deciding and starting on your next project or initiative. That’s the First Step in my 9 Step Formula For Marketing Success. Here is access to a free copy of the “Cheat Sheet” if you like.

Please share this blog, with somebody you think could use the inspiration.

Tweet: Decide & Get Started - Getting a Head Start on 2016. Great #tips and #tricks to overcome # procrastination

What projects are you planning to take on in 2016 and how are you going to start? How do you decide and get started? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comment box.




Let me know if you have any projects you need help getting start on in 2016.

I work with companies on their marketing, lead generation and sales throughout their life cycle – from start ups, to expansions to exit strategies and the sale of the company. My clients are from the private sector and public sector including economic development and tourism based organizations.

I offer FREE 60 minute strategy sessions to get  people started or back on track. For more information e-mail me or give me a call today.

Do you want more leads and more business? Download my 9 Step Formula for Marketing Success “Cheat Sheet” , the formula is designed to get tons of publicity and new business. This is the exact formula I used to create $150 million in incremental development, 400% growth in tourism, millions of dollars in free publicity and a new identity for an old “brand” and community.


  1. aron

    Good stuff Dan.Nicely packaged

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