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We’ve all been there.

Decided to do something, create a product, develop an idea that we had.  And when it comes to implementing it we sit there in despair thinking “I have no idea how to do this”.

When you don’t know what you don’t know

It’s not even a case of knowing what you need to find out.  Of knowing how to start and figuring out the rest on the way.  When you don’t know anything then you don’t even know where or how to start looking.  And you get paralysed.  Stuck.  Scared.

Begin with the end in mind

Know what you want to end up with.  Be specific.  Draw it, sketch out a diagram, mind-map the idea.  This gives you something to aim for, something to ask about, something tangible to share and discuss.  And if you don’t know what you want to finish with, how are you going to explain it to someone else?

Know where you’re at now

You can only start from where you are now.  Being realistic about your current situation is essential.  If you know nothing then you know nothing.  If you have a vague idea of how to start making it happen then that’s what you’ve got.  Denial about how much you know or have will make your job harder.  Be honest with yourself and you’ll find the answers that you need.

Gather your resources

That may be a vertical learning curve you’re about to embark on, but you’ve probably already got a slight step up – you just can’t see it yet.  Have a good look at all the resources you have available, we’ve all got a lot more than we think.

Remember the principle of Six Degrees of Separation?  That’s how close you are to knowing what you need to know.

The internet is your best friend in these situations; Twitter, forums, discussion groups, networking groups, they’re all great for asking advice and introductions.  People are willing to help, if only they’re asked.

Google your topic.  This should give you a good idea of what’s involved, how to start and what you need to learn and plan.

Mastermind groups are also a great resource.  They offer support, accountability, brainstorming.  There’s a lot of mastermind groups all over the world, meeting both in person and virtually.  Hook into one of them before you need it.

The single best thing you can do

The absolute best thing you can do is begin taking action.  There is power in action.  Begin doing something, anything, that will move you just a tiny step ahead.  When you don’t know what you don’t know, you have to learn each step of the way.  And as you go, the step in front of you will become clearer.  But it’s not until you begin taking action and stepping out that you’ll begin seeing the path ahead with clarity.

When you don’t know what you don’t know

You need to research, investigate, ask questions and take action.  Don’t put a dream aside because you don’t know how to get from here to there.  Find out the first step and take it.  Then the second, all the way to the end.