What are you getting ready for?
That made me stop and reflect on how much time I have spent “getting ready” for the next direction I want to go in my life.
A fair amount of time, actually. And much of it was wasted time.
In fact, much of it was merely procrastination.
That is why I’ve taken to heart a phrase I heard last year by Steven Pressfield: “Start before you’re ready.”
Do you rush around “getting ready” to find the perfect mate, find the perfect job or house or car?
Or start that creative project?
Do you wait for conditions to be just right to start something new? I used to think I had to create the perfect office environment before I could start writing.
There’s no such thing!
Do you delay taking vacation time until you can afford to go to Paris? When there are perfectly interesting cities and places nearby?
Don’t let excuses hold you back!
I once heard a famous person say she’d like to start meditation, but she wasn’t pure enough yet. The irony is that meditation helps to purify you.
“Start before you’re ready”
The key to getting anything accomplished is consistency: do some of it each day, even if it’s baby steps.
In anticipation of a trip to Mexico later this year, I decided to learn to speak Spanish, so I bought a nice little workbook called Learn Spanish the Fast and Fun Way with MP3 CD: The Activity Kit That Makes Learning a Language Quick and Easy! (Fast and Fun Way Series) and I work in it for 20 minutes a day.
I could have waited until I have more time, but, the way my life seems to go, that day will never come.
I had other choices: I could have waited until I could afford a fancy audio course, but … why wait?
I could have waited until I could afford to go to Mexico early and take a Spanish language immersion course, but . . . why wait?
I don’t need to get ready to learn Spanish – I just needed to start. And that’s what I’m doing.
My motivation for learning Spanish is that I’m tired of traveling to foreign countries and not being able to speak the language. And yet every country I visit has lots of people who speak English. It’s downright embarrassing.
Two years ago as I was leaving Brazil, the customs agent said something to me in Portuguese and I replied, in English, “I’m sorry I don’t speak Portuguese.”
So he switched to English and gave me a kindly shake of the head that implied, “Shame on you.”
I made the decision right then and there that I would not enter another country without speaking at least a minimal amount of the language.
Your starting point is the next sunrise. Be grateful the sun doesn’t wait to get ready to shine each day. Can you imagine if it did?
“Oh, I won’t rise until all the people on earth appreciate me and are kind to one another and respect Mother Earth.”
That would be a very long wait. Fortunately, the sun is ready to do its job each day, every day, not “getting ready” for conditions to be ideal.
What are your fears of starting?
“At its root, procrastination is almost always based on some kind of fear.” Leo Babauta
- Fear of failure: so what? If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Everyone has some failure [see my prior post on famous people who failed].
- What if you’re not doing it right? Relax, you’ll figure it out. That’s how babies learn to walk.
- Look closely at the fear: what are you afraid of? Is it reasonable? The fear may be based on some incident from childhood that has nothing to do with who you are now.
You’re an adult now, do you want your life to be run by a kindergartner?
“Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” Robert Anthony
The antidote to getting ready: Just do it!
Here are some tips to help you get over the “getting ready” syndrome:
- Just start: break it down into little steps you can take right now. Even just five minutes a day.
- Accountability: do it with a friend.
- Glue yourself to your chair and do something for 20 minutes without interruption, then give yourself a break. I set a timer for 20 minutes when I sit down to study Spanish. Knowing the end is in sight helps me start!
Self-made billionaire Richard Branson is a prime example.
Branson, who founded Virgin Airlines, was a dyslexic high-school dropout who started one business after another with just a little bit of money. A perfect example of his “just do it” attitude is this story told by Branson, and related by James Clear:
I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time.
At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do.
Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was cancelled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.
“Just do it,” says the Nike ad. And there may be no better advice than that.
Richard Branson story courtesy of James Clear at: http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-branson-taught-me-that-successful-people-start-before-theyre-ready-2013-8#ixzz3iSBybE7E
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com