Jay Shetty Explains How To Navigate Starting Something New

There’s one question that I get asked over and over again within my community and on my social platforms. Want to know what it is?

Jay Shetty, how do I start?

Starting something new can be intimidating. It’s easy to allow anxiety, fear, and pressure hold us back and keep us from taking the leap. The truth is, oftentimes we’re stuck before we even begin. Once we do start, we find ourselves wondering things like:

  • Why it isn't this working? 
  • Why isn't it going as well as I thought it would?
  • Why is this not already successful? 

We spend a lot of time looking for the “one thing” that will change everything, but it’s not quite that simple. Growth is far less about “one thing” and much more about a series of phases, stages and levels.

If we could choose, we’d always want to be in flow and thriving, but that’s not realistic. Growth has levels, and learning how to navigate them is important.

There are five levels of growth I’ve observed in my life and the lives of others I admire. Learning how to diagnose what level you’re in is the key to being able to live according to that level and avoiding complacency or depression.

The Five Levels of Growth

There are five levels of growth – learn, experiment, perform, struggle, and thrive. We’re always in one of these five stages, and if you really want to experience growth, you can’t skip any.

How we live and operate in the different levels of growth can be compared to how we live and operate during different seasons of the year. We adapt to each season according to the weather, the holidays, and other events that make that time of the year unique. 

Growth works best when the five levels lead from one to the other. Before I break down each phase, just remember that these five levels can be applied to anything you want to successfully tackle.

I’m going to dive deeply into each level so you can unpack and understand how to go into these levels and make the most out of them. 

Learn Before You Do

The first level of growth is learning. This is the level we’re most likely to try to skip or avoid. We want to take action immediately, but taking action before actually researching or learning about what you want to do almost guarantees you’ll have a hard time figuring things out as you go.

Doesn’t this just prolong action, Jay Shetty? Shouldn’t I just dive in and DO something?

Don’t mistake the learning phase with inactivity. Learning is a very active part of the process, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be a fun..

My favorite way to learn is to speak to people who are already doing I want to do. Before I started my podcast, On Purpose with Jay Shetty, I spoke to many podcasters and asked them several different types of questions. First, I ask logistical, tactical and practical questions like:

  • How did you start? 
  • How many episodes did you record a week? 
  • Do you partner with anyone? 
  • How do you book guests? 

I also ask emotional and mental questions. Asking emotional and mental questions can help give you an idea what you might love about the process and what you may struggle with. Emotional and mental questions include questions like:

  • What is your favorite part of the process? 
  • What do you hate about the process? 
  • What do you wish you knew when you started? 

Don't just skip or avoid the learning phase. If you try to skip over it, you usually never start because you don’t feel ready. Also, don’t be afraid to be specific with your questions. When you don't get specific about your questions, you don't get specific answers. 

Knowledge is power, and it can help you overcome any fear of the unexpected. When you learn, you gain more awareness through the process, and you know what pitfalls to look for as you get ready to transition to the next level. 

Experiment to Discover What Works

Once you’ve done the work to learn about what you want to do, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to use. For example, let’s say you want to write a book. During the learning stage, you learn more about the process by talking to a number of authors. As you ask them questions, you discover many of them recommend writing a set number of words a day. 

In the experiment level, you take that information and try it out for yourself. You decide to commit to writing 500 words a day for the next week. Maybe it will work for you, and maybe it won’t. The information you get from experimenting and taking action will get you closer to your goal. 

When you’re in the experimentation level, there’s no judgment, no criticism, and no guilt of getting it wrong. You’re simply allowing experimentation to show you what works for you and what doesn't. 

Having an experimentation level takes the pressure off. You don’t have to worry about perfecting anything or what anyone's opinions are during this level. Experiment stage is just about trying new things. Even if you make mistakes (and you will) it’s valuable because you can use those mistakes and try something different.

Perform and Get Results

 Now that you know what works and what doesn’t, it’s time to apply yourself to building consistency and steadiness into what you’re doing. It’s time to get into a routine and a groove so you can deliver measurable, replicable results. This is what I call the Performance level.

Performance may not be the most exciting phase, but it’s very important. When you can produce measurable, replicable results, it builds confidence and motivates you to keep pushing forward. 

As I said before, we tend to avoid the learning and experimenting levels and try to skip straight to performance mode. It doesn't work though because your performance is only as strong as the learning and experimenting you did beforehand.

Embrace the Struggle

I know what you’re thinking. 

No thank you, Jay Shetty. I’d rather not struggle. 

I hate to break it to you, but there’s a little bit of struggle in all the levels. You can’t avoid it, but you can seek to understand it. The deeper you understand it, the more you can work with it and use it to grow instead of working against it. 

When you keep a balanced view of struggle, you can learn and grow through it without making it your existence.

Enjoy the Times Spent Thriving

Thriving is the level we all want to live in. We want to sit on top of the mountain, having done all the hard work, and be acknowledged and recognized for what we’ve achieve. We want to just stay there. 

The most important thing to remember about thriving is that it’s a byproduct of the first four levels. You only get to thriving if you’ve gone through all four of the other levels first. So if you live for the award show, the followers, and the fame, you’re going to be disappointed to discover that thriving only makes up about one percent of the time you spend trying something new. 

I've spent time with Emmy, Grammy, Streamy, and Oscar winners, and they could all tell you those mountaintop events are only one percent of the experience. They’re not celebrating or being celebrated all the time. They're also learning, experimenting, performing, and struggling. It’s all part of the journey, and it’s all valuable.

Making the Most of Each Level

There are a couple ways you can make the most of whichever level you’re in at any given moment in time. First of all, you must learn to recognize which level you’re in. Second, don’t force thriving. Thriving is a natural byproduct of the other four. And third, focus well on whatever you’re doing in each level.

All five levels together act like a cycle that you repeat regularly. It's not just a cycle that you do once. You don’t just get to the top and then thrive forever. It doesn't work like that. You will keep growing and learning your whole life. There’s always something to be excited about and something to celebrate. 

Listen to the Full Episode and Hear More From Jay Shetty

You can listen to the entire podcast episode on the 5 Levels of Growth with Jay Shetty now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories, check out my website at jayshetty.me.