I often find myself landing jobs and opportunities for which I am not entirely qualified, based solely on experience. I don’t lie on my résumé, or claim to have experience I don’t, but I’m constantly being offered opportunities that sometimes have me thinking, “Who, me? Are you sure?”
I then promptly bust my ass and do a great job, but it’s usually not because I’ve had prior experience to justify it. I’ve done this my entire life, not really thinking much of it, until friends and family will undoubtedly ask, “How did you DO that?!”
I always laugh and say, “I have no idea, just luck, I guess.” But, it’s not luck; it’s not an accident, and I’m no more talented or intelligent than the next person.
I just do things when I want to do them, regardless of the size of the risk involved or if I have prior experience in the area. And you can, too—here’s how:
Start before you are ready. Spoiler alert: You’ll never be ready. If you’re waiting for the day you’re ready, you’ll be waiting forever. If the idea and urge remain, trust that instinct. Then, take the first step, and the steps following will be much easier. I promise, you’ll be surprised at what follows.
Get rid of the excuses. You know you want to pursue something, but you think, “I’m not trained in that.” Or, “I’m too old to start now”; I’ll be way behind.” Or, “It’s too much of a risk, what if I fail?” For your sake, I hope it is a big risk you’re thinking of taking. You’ll never be successful if you don’t take risks, and that’s a fact. I can promise you the successful people you look up to didn’t make excuses.
Research. The Internet is a beautiful thing. Whatever your new endeavor may be, you can be sure you’ll be able to find any and all information about it on the World Wide Web. Educate yourself on both the history behind it and what’s currently going on. Find out who the big players are and why. Find out what’s changed and what’s remained the same. Immerse yourself in the subject and become an expert on your own.
Never be “aspiring.” Aspiring is another word for “wannabe.” I don’t believe in the word “aspiring”—just be it and just do it. If you believe you’re it, so will everyone else. There are too many people out there “aspiring” and not doing. Be a doer.
Imitate. Find people who are doing what you want to do and contact them. Email them, call them or Facebook message them. You’d be surprised how many people will be willing and happy to give you advice. Then ask the questions. Ask them how they did it, what worked and what didn’t, what they wish they’d known, what hurdles to expect, etc. Then, do what they did. It’s that simple. Why reinvent the wheel? Successful people are successful for a reason. Ask them what the reason is and then implement it.
Expect to fail—a lot. You’ve never done this before! Prepare to fail. Don’t expect yourself to know all of the answers (nobody knows everything, not even the “big shots”); you will NEVER know all the answers. Allow yourself to fail, but prepare to promptly pick yourself back up and begin again. Do not wallow in your failure; ain’t nobody got time for that.
Have a sense of humor. Laugh at yourself. You’re going to mess up; you’re going to look silly and things are going to go wrong. If you’re too busy taking yourself seriously, you’re going to miss out on the truly hilarious parts of your journey. You’ll miss out on the parts that you’ll look back on in 20 years with nostalgia and say, “Damn, that was fun.”
If you’re thinking about it and dreaming about it, there’s a reason for that. Trust your gut, and take the leap. I promise, it’s worth it.
Michaelan Moore is a New York City based documentary filmmaker, producer and writer, and a contributor to the Gen Y website Elite Daily.