The Blog.

Three Reasons to Start Now

18 Jan 2013 | Clarity & Focus

Have you hit the ground running this year? Are you still trying to get going? Or does it feel like you’ve only just started and are already playing catch up?

On January 1st while I was watching Rise of the Guardians with my husband and kids and seeing who could eat the most sweets, my inbox, Twitter and Facebook stream was filling up fast with resolutions, goals, new programmes, products and launches. People grabbing the bull by the horns and kicking the new year off to a flying start.

Yup I had a new year blog post up, and a day of kickstart coaching sessions planned for my first week back, but I couldn’t help feeling like everyone else had started without me, while i was still munching on cheese and chocolate.

The kids eventually went back to school on the 8th January, and by my fourth working day of the year, we were halfway through the month already. It struck me, that when working around kids and school holidays – it can be really easy to constantly feel behind, always trying to catch up.

It’s hard work playing catch up. When I’m running and trying to catch up, I always find myself out of breath and out of step. I’m not running, I’m scrambling, chasing a moving target.

Start Now instead of playing Catch Up

Catch Up is reactive, unfulfilling and carries a hint of panic and desperation to it.

Start Now carries a sense of purpose, focus and action.

When I’m trying to catch up, it doesn’t feel like the real work has begun until I’ve caught up. I dismiss all the steps I take to catch up. I’m on the back foot and my focus is on the time lost by starting late, and if I lose sight of who I’m trying to catch up with, or gap increases, I’m much more likely to give up and feel like I haven’t achieved anything.

With Start Now, every step is progress – purposeful, noticeable and fuels my momentum. I’m focused on running my own race and finding my own rhythm.

I remember when I started running this time last year, after my first minute, a friend told me “that’s it now, you’re a runner.” I didn’t have to catch up with someone else’s time or distance to qualify. I started as a runner with my very first minute. That gave me the momentum to keep running.

Start Now means I’m focused on my time, my progress and I create my own momentum.

Start In the Small

A friend of mine threw me a question at the end of band practice the other day: “How do you start a business?”

Aside from How long have you got? and You start, my answer was “Start with demand. Find that bit of demand that you can serve, serve them, learn and grow from there.”

“But I want to be an overnight success!” he said, semi-jokingly (I think).

My answer, I realised was the same. What is a big success, if not a culmination of many small successes? Record-breaking sales are made up of individual purchases. A fan base of a million is made up of a million individual connections. Every “overnight success” comes from individual hours of behind the scenes work.

If you want to make something a big success, start with the small.

I meet so many frustrated, big-hearted life coaches who want to use their skills and talents to transform lives, yet feel that they don’t have the clients or the opportunity to do that.

Start Now means you don’t have to wait for that one big idea or opportunity to come along. You start with what you have, and create that big opportunity by taking action on lots of little ones.

If you want to change the world, don’t wait for the world to come to you, start with the bit of world that you inhabit. Make a difference one conversation at a time, starting with the people you meet today.

That’s exactly how my book came about, and how I’m continuing to build my business today. I realised a while ago that I’d love to become known as a professional encourager, so I try to be encouraging in every conversation I have – whether that’s with a client, a friend or the barista at Costa.

What’s your personal definition of success? How can you start in the small and start living that out right now, in your day to day?

Start Now – Stop Waiting for Everything to Be Perfect

Perhaps at the opposite end of the scale from trying to catch up is waiting for conditions to be perfect and not starting at all.

We’ve all been there, stuck in that place of “I haven’t got…” or “I’m not ____ enough.”

I haven’t got enough qualifications / experience / time / money / followers / customers yet.

I’m not skilled / talented / experienced / prepared / confident / brave / good enough yet.

As I wrote this week’s post about writer’s procrastination, there’s a difference between preparation and procrastination.

Preparation enables action. Procrastination replaces it.

So the key question to ask yourself is:

“What genuinely needs to be in place, in order for me to start now?”

Instead of waiting for the ideal or the perfect, what would be enough for you to make a start?

Babies don’t wait until they know they can run before they start walking. Chefs don’t wait until they know how to make the perfect souffle before they break their first egg. Pioneers chartering new waters will only know what their destination looks like when they get there.

Start Now means you start with enough, and build the rest as you go. So decide what’s enough, put it in place and make a start.

Over to you. What are you going to start now? Leave a comment and let me know!



  1. Marion Ryan

    Grace, another article that so resonates with me. Fridays are often the day when I feel I’m playing catch up. Just reframing this to “start now” rather than “catch up” makes me feel more relaxed.

    I’m starting with a list of what actually needs to be done right now, before the weekend, I know it will be much less than the list I hallucinate about.

    • Grace Marshall

      Glad it came at the right time for you Marion! Yet another reason not to pay attention to your inner hallucination – there I was wondering if it was just me…

  2. Irene

    Fantastic article. I often feel overwhelmed by being in Catch up mode. But Start now feels so much more energising. I love your comment ‘I try to be encouraging in every conversation I have – whether that’s with a client, a friend or the barista at Costa.’ – you truly are walking your walk when you are doing that.

    Today I am going to change ‘Being between’ to ‘Start now’. It’s scary and it might be a bumby ride, but I will get there.

    Thanks Grace

    • Irene

      I am loving my new word ‘bumby’ – definitely not a typo!

      • Grace Marshall

        Thanks Irene, it’s definitely true that the bigger steps are easier to take when you consistently take the small ones. Have fun in bumby mode! 🙂

  3. Naomi Richards

    Love this blog Grace. I am going to start working harder and smarter so that I can claim some time for me during the week.

  4. Sarah

    Thanks Grace, I just read it now – you’re right, very relevant
    to right now!

    These are the bits that really hit home with me:

    “Record-breaking sales are made up of individual
    purchases. A fan base of a million is made up of a million individual

    especially this:

    “Preparation enables action. Procrastination replaces it.”

    “So the key question to ask yourself is: “What genuinely needs to be in place, in order for me to start

    I’ve just cut and pasted those bits, and printed off to go on my
    ‘inspirational quotes’ cork board! 🙂

    Thank you!


    • Grace Marshall

      Yay! Glad it’s inspired you Sarah. Love the idea of creating a visible reminder on your inspirational quote cork board 🙂

Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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