This is a guest post for my “Getting Real” series. On this blog, we provide “pure human content,” and truly get real. I wanted to give other bloggers the opportunity to come on here and get real with me! I am so excited for the opportunity to invite other bloggers to join me and share their life experience and big feels. Interested in sending over a guest post and being part of the “Getting Real” series? Send me an email!
Now without further ado, let’s get real…
As a blogger, particularly one so focused on positivity and loving your life for what it is, I try not to dwell on regrets. They don’t have much place in a happy life. But one thing that I would go back and change about my journey so far, given the chance, is the time I forgot to start.
I knew for quite a while that I wanted to build a blog. Once I landed on a concrete idea that I wanted to write about, I sat on it for a bit. After some weeks went by, and I still felt strongly about the idea, I registered the domain name that would become my website. And that’s when the real waiting began.
I knew what I wanted my blog to be, but I still didn’t feel “ready” to launch it. “What if it fails?” I thought. “What if I don’t get it right, and everyone hates it, and they find out that my writing, and my ideas, and my taste in loud-print collared shirts are all terrible?” So, for two years (two FULL years) I held that domain name and did nothing with it.
In those two years that I waited, my writing didn’t improve. The design of my website didn’t progress because my website had no design. I didn’t learn anything about how to market and promote my work. I didn’t make any new blogging connections or start meeting awesome creators (like Renata!) None of this happened until I started.
We all forget to start sometimes, particularly when it comes to goals and endeavors we really, truly care about. It stems from a fear of failure, but is ironically one of the biggest barriers to success we will ever face. Here’s how to get through it.
Why Do We Wait?
What causes this? Why, when we know what we want, and what we plan to do to get to it, do we struggle so much to take that critical first step? In a word – anxiety. Or, in four words – totally normal, healthy anxiety.
If you’ve ever been on the way out of the house, and found yourself going back in several times for “one last thing” you forgot, then you probably know the feeling of anxiety well.
Fear and anxiety are tools designed to protect us from possible trouble. Often, particularly when we feel uncertain about something ahead, they step in to give us advice – “back away from here,” “it’s too risky,” “don’t lick that,” “seriously, don’t put that in your mouth,” etc.
In the above example of leaving the house, anxiety keeps telling you to do one more thing before you head out so that you will feel more prepared, less uncertain.
And when it comes to something bigger than leaving the house, like me starting my business or you taking the next major step in your life, it gets trickier. Transitions like this mean a lot to us, so they bring more emotional weight, fear, and worry.
Bigger steps in life means bigger emotions, and bigger emotions means a stronger pull to stay put — to stay safe until you feel all the way “ready.” The problem is, we rarely reach that state.
What Happens When You Forget to Start
Even though a dollop of worry is a healthy (even helpful) thing at times, we have to be careful not to let anxiety take the wheel. The fear of failure, or of other misfortune, tells us we aren’t ready to start yet. Just a little more time to prepare, and then there won’t be any risks when we do start. But what outcome could be worse than waiting so long that you never actually tried?
When you want something, but catch yourself hesitating to go after it, a big, messy, imperfect first step is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It is also said that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Note that no one said that conditions need to be perfect before you take that step, or that shot.
Waiting to start protects you from making mistakes, facing challenges, and learning hard lessons. But the passing discomfort of these things is a small price to pay for the growth they effect. This is why we need balance between our short-term and long-term thinking.
There may be some small steps you can take, or some bit of research you can do to prepare before jumping into something. But when you forget to start, nothing can make up for the wealth of opportunities to learn and grow that can only be found out there in the real world, with real experience.
How to Be Unsure and Get Going Anyway
All we need to overcome this “starting anxiety” is a bit of confidence, faith, and trust in ourselves. I know – easy, right?
I hope it comes as some comfort to hear that the goal is not to make yourself completely devoid of fear, or even to convince yourself that you’re entirely ready. The goal is to step forward with courage. Courage, after all, is a measure of your ability to feel fear and do what you need to do anyway. And I promise you, if you search inside yourself for that courage, you will find it there. It will carry you through.
And once you take that initial step, flip that switch, the progress will come faster than you’d ever believe.
What’s the worst that could happen? You might make mistakes. I may go so far as to say you definitely will. You might even fail. If you do, you will still be better off, and further ahead than you will be if you forget to start. The only thing that waiting does is hold you back from learning each lesson those missteps have to teach you.
You are ready, just as you are. Whatever you haven’t done, learned, or prepared so far, I assure you that you will find along the way. You will learn, you will grow, you will progress, and you will ultimately succeed, so long as you don’t forget to start.
Sam is a personal growth blogger and coach on a journey to help others improve their lives, work, and money. He’s always looking for new ways to combine old-school wisdom with novel ideas (and a dash of fun) to simply make life a better place to be.
You can find him blogging over at: https://www.smarterandharder.com/