Wherever you’re trying to go, starting is essential. And yes, you already know that. But the question is — where should I start? This question can be pretty overwhelming. Because where you start will affect everything else that follows. So here it is — the best place to start — no matter where you’re trying to go.

starting

Start here.

You know the feeling.

And the feeling is — I’ve got to get going.

Because I’ve already wasted so much time.

And I’m falling behind.

In fact, I can’t even believe how much time I’ve wasted already.

Just look at the guys I started with.

Because they’re all ahead of me now.

And I feel like a fool.

Because oh, sure — at the time I felt like I was the smart one.

But now, I’m feeling farther and farther behind.

Don’t jump the gun.

Because when you feel this way — and we all do, at times — you will be tempted to jump the gun.

And sure — any kind of starting would feel better than this mess.

But don’t jump the gun.

Don’t jump out there willy-nilly.

Instead, start here.

Because Q2 is good for you.

Remember Q2?

We’ve talked about it before.

And if you want a refresher on Q2, follow the link at the end of this article.

But basically, Q2 (Quadrant II in Stephen Covey’s model) is the place where you do what is important — even essential — but not yet urgent.

Let me say that again.

Q2 is that place where you do what is important but not yet urgent.

Because when you’re doing what is both important and urgent, you’re putting out fires.

And that gets old really fast, and is extremely inefficient.

Whereas when you’re in Q2, you’re doing things like relationship building and advance planning.

And you want to spend most of your time in Q2.

Because when you do, your life is powerful and efficient — giving you the feeling of accomplishment and happiness without being in the freak-out or the exhaustion zone.

Q2 is like when you hit a golf ball or a tennis ball right — right in the sweet spot.

Because when you hit the ball in the sweet spot, it sails with incredible power — even while the hit on the ball feels effortless.

But what does all of this have to do with our question — where to start — to get where you’re going faster?

Here’s how.

Starting here is a great example of Q2.

Because the place you need to start, no matter where you want to go — if you want to get there not only faster but better — is starting with yourself.

But this is the last place where most men start.

Instead, they start with a program or an idea or an image that is not their own.

So take the concept of Q2 and apply it to our question of where to start.

When I coach men, I use a simple mnemonic — (a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something — your vocabulary word for today:-)

And the mnemonic I use is FOCUS.

Because the F in FOCUS stands for “Forge a strong personal alliance.”

But what does that mean?

It means that if you really want to focus your energy powerfully and efficiently — to bring your best self to any task —

You’ve got to start with yourself.

And yes — you already knew that.

But look again.

In this category of forging a strong personal alliance, I encourage men to face their fears and to affirm their own self worth.

Because until you do that, you’re wasting your time, spending way too much time in Q1 — putting out fires — because your core is weak.

Because you’ve got to start with yourself.

Whereas, when you start with yourself your core is strong and focused.

And you hit way more “balls” right in the sweet spot.

Why is this?

Well, remember that Q2 is relationship building and advance planning.

So when you forge a strong personal alliance, you are in essence building a relationship with yourself.

And I know that may sound weird, even narcissistic.

But think about it.

Because the problem most men have is that they value the lives and time of others way more than they value their own life and time.

Which leaves them feeling hollow and empty at the end of the day or the week or the month.

Or at the end of their life.

Don’t let that be you.

Start with yourself.

Face your fears.

Value yourself.

Because when you do —

When you start with yourself, everything else will fall much more powerfully into place.

And you will have the impact with your life that feels powerful and centered and worth living.

So get started.

For a review of Q2, look here.

You might also check out this book on facing your fears.

And you can always write to me at mark@marknewtonpdx.com.

Tell me what you’re struggling with, and I’ll be in touch with practical resources to get you back on track.