Last week, I was coaching a client and we were going over her big dream and how to make it happen. As we were talking about it, I noticed that her energy around it was flagging–this big fat goal was actually making her anxious and fearful, increasing her self-doubt, and paralyzing her from action. This is a fairly common experience–we dream up something big for ourselves, then we use it to beat ourselves up about never possibly achieving it. Which then makes us feel even more tired and hopeless and less motivated to change even the smallest parts of our lives that are giving us trouble.

For this lovely lady, she was using the dream of owning her own business to prevent herself from changing her current soul-numbing work situation–the reasoning being, she shouldn’t leave her currently unfulfilling job and find another, slightly more fulfilling one if she was going to change fields entirely somewhere down the road. You know, she should just keep suffering until magically she wasn’t suffering anymore.

Fuck that. If your job is making your miserable and you can find another job that (even if it’s not perfect) is closer to your ideal, then do it! Even if it means maybe you do that again in a year or two! Stop feeling like you have to figure out everything before you can make a  move. Let me repeat that:

You don’t have to figure out everything before you can figure out anything. Stop that. Start smaller.

That does not build momentum! And momentum is what you need to into your better, shinier, lovelier, easier, more fun and peaceful life! Here is how you build momentum to get where you want to go:

1. Find a place in your life that is sucking your energy away every time you think about it, experience it, do it, get near it. That person, that job, that room, that experience, that sweater.

2. Figure out a way to make that place better, right now, with a relatively small step. This is the antidote to rescue fantasy thinkingInstead of figuring out how you could make it better, with a couple million dollars, and five years, think about how you could make it better now, with what you got.

3. Do it! Notice how much better you feel! Feel the energy that having a slightly better life provides you. Use that energy to go back and repeat steps 1 through 3 until you are fairly levitating with awesomeness. 

Number 2 is obviously the part that takes the most figuring out. Sometimes it involves making an internal change (like changing your story about this particular thing). Sometimes it means making an external change (something as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier). A lot of the time it’s both. In this particular case, it was changing her story that the only way she could justifiably leave her current job was for some big life-changing mission and then getting started on a plan to find a new job. Sometimes it means getting rid of that thing, or person, or place, or situation that is draining your energy. Whatever it is, figure it out. Don’t find the one perfect solution–just figure out what might make it better. And try it.

A note for perfectionists: Go for smaller than your perfectionist brain is inclined towards–it will usually be bigger than you need anyways, because our perfectionism almost always goes too big, too fast. It does this so we get paralyzed and do nothing and stay safe and comfortable. Tricky that perfectionism.