Have you ever had a dream, vision or plan to try something courageous, but it just wasn’t the right time? Let me guess, you still have that idea sitting there, but it STILL isn’t the right time to take action?
Many times when we have good ideas for change, we make up excuses and reasons to push those ideas further and further down the timeline. We think we aren’t ready to take the risk or that we need to perfect our plan in order for it to be fully prepared and ready to share. Unfortunately, this is more common in women and it is also tied to confidence. In reading The Confidence Code, I learned just how much confidence is a skill that was either culturally pressed on you or it wasn’t. Men are culturally conditioned to maintain a confident stance and chase ambitious dreams whether or not they’re ready. Women, on the other hand, tend to over-analyze their work, trying to perfect it before presenting it and taking that risk. Truthfully, this was me. I felt I had a lot of great ideas to share, but I didn’t feel comfortable or confident sharing the ideas or plans unless I felt it had been perfected. I still can get caught in this trap. The trick I’ve learned time and time again is that nothing will ever feel or be perfect. So the time for me to chase some of those ideas would have been never.
Don’t misunderstand the message here, there is a difference between impulsive decision-making and implementing a “non-perfect” plan. Sometimes sitting around waiting or trying to make the idea perfect causes us to miss out on an opportunity because we were afraid we weren’t and aren’t QUITE ready. I’m not saying to jump in as SOON as you have an idea, this is written more for those who are feeling that they have some background, knowledge and/or skill related to a semi-developed idea or plan for change yet those who don’t feel ready to share, ask for help or get started. This could be something like a change in careers or going back to school, a new idea for how to organize certain work processes or even trying to change or start a habit. Whatever it is that will make you feel like you’re living your life and potential to its fullest, please embrace it.
I’ve been lucky enough to have mentors that will push me over the edge with my scholarly work, forcing me to jump before I’m feeling ready. This absolutely can and will make you feel overwhelmed, like you’re in over your head (you very well might be for a while), but if you have people like this in your life, never let them go. The more that you allow yourself to feel that discomfort that comes from not knowing every single thing there is to know about XYZ, the more comfortable you will eventually be jumping in next time before you are 100% sure it’s safe. Then suddenly, the discomfort starts to feel less scary and less like discomfort; it feels exciting and world-changing. You see new doors continuously open with every risk you take, even those that don’t work out. This is how you start to see just how much potential you have. If you never take the risk, you’ll always lack that confidence in your competence to do things.
Also, if you have the opportunity to mentor anyone (including yourself), I hope you will help them to see how important it is to realize that if they sit around waiting for the exact perfect time, they will be sitting forever, and they will miss their chance. Nothing is perfect and no matter what, nothing will ever be perfect. Not us, not the world, not your ideas, not your mentor’s ideas, not even your furbabies are perfect (…I am not 100% sure about this one, mine are pretty flippin’ close to purrfect).
Still not sure if you’re ready to share a new idea or plan or make a life change? Take baby steps. Share your thoughts with your mother, your spouse, your cat and your best friend. Then share with an employee or colleague, in class or in a boardroom. Sharing your thoughts may be the first step towards action. Plus, hearing the reactions and responses from others can help you better form your ideas and hold you accountable to bringing them to fruition. For an extra bit of inspiration, read my other posts about creativity and the world’s need for you to harness your innate creative edge.
Like Nike says: Just do it. The time is now!