Source Code founder Valter Cumbi on how to get started on your goals.
“I mean it! Seriously. Where did you get the idea you can’t do this?” asks Valter Cumbi. It’s a mantra that he’s kept close to his heart throughout his journey of founding and growing Source Code Pensa 660#, a platform that’s improving access to healthcare and information for people living in remote areas of Mozambique.
“Sometimes,” he notes, “we say to ourselves, I have a big project and a small project, so I’ll start small and work up. But I have learned, that’s a lie. The big project is only a little more work than the small project. Don’t sell yourself short. Do the big project first. Dive right in.”
Concerned about not having the skills right now to take on the challenge? Valter’s advice? “Don’t be.”
“You can and will learn everything as you go,” he says with a shrug. “I thought I knew some things when I started. I didn’t. But I did it anyway. I have no doubt that I’ll look back on what I’m doing now in five years’ time and think, you STILL didn’t know anything. But that’s the point—keep on learning and doing better.”
Though today Valter seems full of self-confidence, it wasn’t always the case. “I used to look at experts talking on TV and think, I have nothing to add to this conversation. But that’s not true! Everyone has their own story and their own superpower. We all have something to contribute. When you remember that, you can draw a lot of confidence from it.”
“Just jump in. Be inspired by little kids who just leap into the water to play. When do we lose that self-belief that we can do and achieve things? We should never lose it, but our schools, our families, our cultures all chip away at us. Refuse to accept that!”
Even so, the distance between knowing we should jump in, and actually doing it can be hard to cross, and Valter acknowledges it: “I know it’s hard, believe me. I wanted to change direction in my life for a long time. I had the idea, but I just couldn’t make the leap and get started.”
So what did it ultimately take?
“My mum dared me to do it! Sometimes you need that little extra push.”
Feel like you could use that little extra push too?
Here are some ideas that might help:
- Write down your goal and put it somewhere where you—and all your family—can see it.
- Find a friend who will keep you accountable. Schedule check-ins.
- Put a time limit on your procrastination with a start date on your calendar.
- Set up a new email account.
- Bribe yourself with the promise of a present/donut.
Still teetering on the edge, wondering whether to dive in?
Valter has these final words of motivation: “My wife gave me a piece of advice, and I think about it all the time: No one wants to hear you complaining. Just do it already. So if in doubt, try that.”