How To Test The Waters

I’d always wanted to start a blog but was scared of putting my words out there. To share what I know. To be vulnerable with others.

The pressure of choosing a topic, finding an audience, and writing every day was overwhelming.

Creating a blog took me almost a year before I dove in. Why?

Because I wasn’t ready to get my feet wet. I didn’t start until I knew how to test the waters.

Off target shot

Image by Dan DeChiaro

How To Test The Waters

While my example is of starting a blog, your challenge may be going for the promotion you’ve always wanted, becoming an entrepreneur, or some other big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG for short). Going for the big goals can be intimidating. But this method of testing the waters is tried and true. And I know it can help you obtain your goals.

So, what’s the secret sauce for testing the waters and getting something done? It’s pulling a ready, fire, aim on life.


Before I started the blog, I was ready. I just didn’t want to start because of the fear. Fear flooded my life and I doubted anyone would show up.

Regardless of the fear, I was ready to start. I knew what I knew and knew it could help others out.

For your BHAGs, you might need more preparation. That’s okay. Get what you need and become ready to take on the challenge.


The next step to testing the waters is to fire.

Errr… You may be thinking you didn’t hear me right. Or that I skipped Aim. But you’re wrong if you’re thinking this.

After Ready comes fire.

Not a big rocket firing but a small shot, like a .22 gun. Tiny, but you can tell where the Fire hit.

Fire is all about find your mark. You send out a test shot to see how far off you might be.

When I was starting a blog, this meant getting a web-host, a domain, and creating content. What I posted on the blog to begin with was my firing.

Watch where the shot goes. Did it hit it’s mark or is the target more to the right?

After firing, it’s time to aim.


Normally, the saying goes: Ready, aim, fire.

However, when you’re testing the waters Aim comes last.

You’ve been Ready, you’ve Fired your shot, and now it’s time to refine and Aim where you’re going.

The next step in my blogging journey was to aim. This meant refining my content so I got it just right for the audience I was looking for. It’s slowly been shifting and attracting the audience I desired.

I touched on this briefly in the Fire section but it’s important to understand this.

After you’ve fired, you can then begin honing your target. You get a feel for where your efforts are going. You can correct after a small shot.

Once you’ve figured out the corrections that need to be made, bring out the big guns and Aim. Then fire again knowing you’re going to hit the target.

Question: How can you apply Ready, Fire, Aim to your leadership? Do you think this could help you lead better? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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