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  • Thomson Dawson

The importance of starting at the bottom.


Creative people running their own business are always looking for useful advice and ideas about getting from where they are now to some elevated place where they want to be. Many know what they want, yet the “how to do it” part remains elusive.


Accomplishment has no silver bullets. Getting things done and making things happen isn’t magic, it’s work–actually it’s great work! I’m sure you’ll agree nothing is more satisfying and fulfilling than turning possibilities into achievement.  The questions I get asked often are “how do I make it happen?” and “where do I start?”

What they really want to know is “how can I start at the top and work up from there?” Few are willing to start something at the bottom. Everybody wants a shortcut to the top.


Don’t get me wrong, if you find a shortcut–a faster, better, cheaper way to accomplishing your goal, by all means go for it. There are many shortcuts on the road to your success.  The important thing one must understand about shortcuts (better ways to get things done) is they are only made available to you AFTER you start at the bottom.


Every great accomplishment starts at the bottom. The bottom being the place where you have no prior skill, knowledge or experience. Every accomplishment begins with your willingness and acceptance of being at the bottom–unaccomplished!


Having to face being at the bottom is one reason why many people won’t make it to the top. They never gave themselves a fair shot because they don’t want to risk failure and they don’t like feeling unaccomplished. It’s more comfortable to stay where they are even if that means staying stuck wondering what to do next.

There is no formula for moving forward toward an accomplishment you desire.  You just begin at the bottom and don’t worry too much about the “how”.


Every accomplishment begins in the mind.

I’ve written many times and it’s worth repeating–everything that ever was, is now or will ever be begins as a formless thought in the mind.  I’m confident you have been thinking about lots of ideas to move yourself forward particularly in your business.  Regardless of the amount of ideas you are thinking about, follow one that has lots of creative juice for you, then forgot about the others (for now).


Accomplishment is really nothing more than the art of sacrifice. You make a decision to go “all in” on one idea at the exclusion of all other alternatives. This level of mental focus builds energy and energy is motion–motion is progress.


Start small, really small.

Once you’ve made a decision to focus on accomplishing a single idea, it can be tempting to take big swings at making things happen at the beginning. In my own experience, I’ve found it more useful to take really small incremental moves toward something I’d like to accomplish. It’s easier to “digest” a small task rather than attempt a big stretch early in game. Allow yourself to get your “legs” first, build your confidence bit by bit.  You’ll be amazed at how much gets accomplished in small bits over time. And when it feels right to you, go ahead and stretch yourself.


You will suck at first.

When I made the decision to become a writer and teacher, I sucked at it. I was at the bottom with no clear idea of who my writing would serve and if anyone cared that much about what I had to say. But I cared!  I cared enough to start this blog and play around with the “writer idea” in little pieces. Slowly, very slowly over time, my writing helped me focus on what mattered to me and who I could serve through my writing.  My writing improved and now I have a bit more confidence. Every time I receive another blog subscriber notice in my email, my confidence grows stronger and I keep learning to be better.  Go ahead and suck!


Ideas take their own sweet time to come into form.

Unlike predictable gestation periods for living organisms, ideas take their own sweet time coming into form. There’s simply no way to know with certainty how long accomplishing anything will take.  There are three attributes inherent in any accomplishment: patience, persistence, and time. The first requires unbending faith, the second repeated action, and finally the last element takes what it takes. The good news is you’re in control of two out of three of those attributes. Not bad odds.


Think of the bottom as the foundation of the bigger future.

Anything worth accomplishing is worth placing on a strong foundation. Think of starting at the bottom as your foundation for a bigger future. At the bottom, you will discover the value of focused energy, faith, action and trust in yourself. Build your accomplishments on those foundational elements and you’ll be absolutely astonished at your progress.