Ready, set, GO!
That was how we always started races when I was a kid. There was always a pause, a time to gather ourselves, a clearly defined moment for us to get prepared before we took off down the track.
We always had that luxury of time to get ready. Nobody expected us to bolt right away or to make the decision as to how ready we were. We were just given the time and then asked to GO.
It was a lot easier like that. Before our minds got muddled and we got in our own way.
Before we started questioning if we really are ready, if we really can do it at all.
Before we let fear get the better of us.
Now I often find myself questioning whether I am ready, whether the timing is right, whether I need more training before I start.
There isn’t anyone there to shout ready, set, GO for me. The boundaries aren’t so clear cut anymore.
At the moment, I am looking for a new job and I find myself getting smaller and smaller in the process. With each rejection, my confidence shrinks a tiny bit and I start to tell myself that maybe I’m really just not ready yet.
I keep waiting for a job to pop up that I know I can do because I’m so afraid of flinging myself into the deep end where I’ll feel incompetent and a total failure.
I don’t feel ready, I feel paralyzed.
I am frozen to the spot, completely incapable of making such a big life decision.
Should I take a regular 9-5 job or work on my creative pursuits? Should I take a punt on a business idea or go for a stable income? Should I study more or start making some savings?
And I bet a lot of you are in the same boat. Maybe you aren’t looking for a job right now but I’m sure there is something else you’ve been longing to try but you just aren’t sure if you are ready yet.
Perhaps it’s a business idea, a new hobby or something you want to learn. Maybe there is someone you’d love to be friends with or wish could be your mentor. Or it might be a place you’d love to travel to or a new town you’d like to call home.
Whatever it is you’ve always wanted to start, the time to start is right now.
So why do we wait until we feel ready?
Why do we put so much weight on this feeling? Why do we put off doing the things that we know will make us happy?
Because the thing is, if we wait until we feel ready, we might never take the leap. We might never pluck up the courage to move forwards. We might never even try.
And the terrible truth is, if we don’t take the leap, we miss out on life.
Every exciting, incredible, soul-satisfying possibility is on the other side of fear.
Fear, that diving board we are teetering on. Fear, the jolting feeling of missing the last step. Fear, that nagging sensation we’ve forgotten something at home.
Fear will always be there. Telling us the timing isn’t right. Making us believe we aren’t good enough. Keeping us stagnant.
But life is too short to miss out on opportunities because we feel afraid. We don’t have the luxury of time to wait until we feel ready, we have to just start now.
How to start now even if you don’t feel ready
Push past your fear
Figure out what the fears are that are preventing you from taking action and address them.
My biggest fears are that I’ll fail or I’ll embarrass myself.
So I am learning to work through these fears by being gentle with myself when I fail. Thereby, creating a positive environment where failure is okay, as long as I learn from it.
I also choose to surround myself with people who will support me regardless of the outcome of my attempts. This means that I can trust them to encourage and stand by me in both my successes and disappointments.
Remove any self-limiting beliefs
What I know from the past is that with most jobs, you learn as you go. You gain the skills you need to perform the job, by doing the job. You figure out if this kind of work is right for you by giving it a go.
And the same goes for almost anything. You simply learn as you go.
Most of the time, you don’t know if you can do something until you give it a try.
So don’t allow yourself to believe you aren’t good enough or you don’t have the skills to do something. You can learn!
Instead, speak words of kindness over yourself. Be your own biggest cheerleader. Build yourself up so that you have the confidence to try. Give some of these self love affirmations a go.
Fake it till you make it
This is the constant piece of advice I get from my older friends, the ones who have lived longer and tried to make things happen for themselves more times than I have.
These words have always bugged me before because they are one of those phrases people like to throw around without actually giving you any advice.
But the deal is, if you don’t feel ready yet, then you should act as though you do. Act like you aren’t afraid. Talk with confidence instead of cushioning your words with I thinks, buts and maybes.
Make people believe you are the real deal and keep going until you start to believe you are the real deal too.
If you carry yourself with confidence nobody will question whether you belong or whether you are right. Learning how to be confident is key.
Take small steps forward
It feels terribly overwhelming if you try to face all of your fears and jump head first into your project right away.
So just take it in small steps. It’s okay if all you did today was begin your research or watch a Youtube video or say out loud for the first time that you want to write book.
Small steps are still movement and they provide the initial work required to gain momentum.
Whatever it is that you are dreaming of starting, you absolutely can.
Even now, when you don’t feel ready yet.
You just need to believe in yourself. Invest in yourself. Give yourself the tools, time and space to achieve your goals. And remember, nothing ever happens overnight. Success takes hard work, patience and persistence.