Ready, Get Set….Stop!

READY, GET SET….
STOP!

YOU’RE AS READY AS YOU’LL EVER BE

WHY NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO START AND WORK AT SOMETHING

I’ve read it countless times in self-help books, heard it as many times from coaches and mindset gurus… and now, like a parrot I suppose, I’m repeating it: TAKE SOME ACTION ALREADY. Um, yeah, I see you there, shaking your head…

I appreciate it’s not some newly discovered revelation I can take any credit for whatsoever, and I’ve certainly done my best to live up to this over the last few years, but let’s be frank – it’s frickin’ difficult. Getting started on anything that takes work, especially when we have no idea of what the outcome might be, is incredibly daunting. It is so daunting that we’ve become masters at avoiding getting started altogether, myself included. Here’s the thing, we all have a gifted talent for some things, but this only serves us a short while, because if we want to get any better at it, better than what we’re naturally predisposed with to achieve effortlessly, we have to work hard at it. For many of us, that’s a problem. Why?

It takes time to work at something – time away from our usual comfortable routine, and often, we feel we don’t have enough of it.

It takes tons of energy to produce better results, and we hardly have enough to get by as it is.

Most importantly, it’s a huge physical, mental and emotional investment. Working harder for something means we’re aiming for more success (for ourselves but also in the eyes of others), a happier life, more pride, more to feel good about, a brighter future… The dividends can be humongous, but on the flip side, the pain, uncertainty, loneliness, embarrassment, regret, dissatisfaction and failure can often be equally as huge, if not bigger. It’s kind of like placing a bet on ourselves, knowing the odds of winning are incredibly low, but putting all of our money on us succeeding anyway… Seriously, WHO DOES THIS? It’s way too much of a risk to live this way, so we decide it’s better to stay put as we are and let someone else suffer the failure. Trust me, I totally get it, and somehow, it’s much more satisfying at first to go with this option than it is to face that mountain of success we’d need to climb (and likely tumble down almost immediately) if we chose to take any kind of action. But here’s the thing – someone else will definitely take the plunge, and even if they do fall flat on their face, they will grow from that experience and, in the most literal sense of the term, win.

So why the hell am I telling you all of this crap, you may ask? Because, recently, I’ve taken the plunge. A few times. And I’ve struggled through it – hell, I still am. In truth, I’ve got nothing figured out, far from it. But I know I’m on the right path.

In the last few months, here are some things I’ve decided to put my heart and soul into, and work hard at:

  • Revamp my coaching website to offer more truthful value to visitors
  • Begin blogging on a weekly basis to bring insights to readers and hopefully inspire them to make a positive change in their lives
  • Wake up at 5am five times a week and at 6am on weekendsto workout, read, write, meditate, breathe, think…
  • Pitch an in-house, free, group coaching program offering to HR and my bosses at work, and plan and design the programs following widespread approval of this idea
  • Begin the process of writing a self-development book (jeez, even just writing that gives me jitters, but hell, I am doing it!)
  • And more…

Did I, at any point, feel I was fully equipped and ready to attack each of these goals knowing I’d be successful in them? Absolutely fucking not. But here I am, working hard on all of them…

You see, I used to be the kinda guy who needed clarity in absolutely everything before getting stuck into something. The kinda guy who would not begin a task unless it made perfect sense, had all the tools needed to get the job done, knew exactly what the outcome would be and how much work would be required to achieve it. The kinda guy who needed a promise of perfection to get started and keep going. The perfect time, the perfect health, the perfect instructions, the perfect weather, the perfect strategy… but here’s what ‘perfect’ delivered for me time and time again: half assed results and experiences through which I hardly found much pride or happiness. I’m a lucky guy, I have family and friends who encourage me no matter what. This in fact made it much worse – I’d be congratulated for my efforts, took the credit, played the game and smiled, explained how hard it all was, and how grateful I was for their support. But it was all smoke and mirrors, to some extent. Throughout my childhood and up until about 6 years ago, this was the routine. If things started to get too hard, or the results too uncertain, or the risk too big, I’d step aside. It was truthfully heartbreaking but I was also very good at deceiving myself b believing whatever excuse I came up with. In the end, it was all about how ‘it wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t the perfect condition I needed to see it all through’. Perfection is bullshit, let’s face it. It’s another term for procrastination. It’s another damn excuse to be complacent and let ourselves off the hook.

The funny thing is, my Dad knew this about me all too well. He saw right through me, and whenever he rightly questioned my choices, I would get embarrassed, frustrated and angry. It’s odd because this was all in direct conflict with all I ever really wanted from him, his pride. But my Dad was an incredible man, full of heart and truth, the hardest worker I’ve ever known, and he wasn’t going to let me off that easily. He did was any great father would do. We butted heads a lot in this regard, and it took some years for me to finally know what he was talking about. It was about self-respect, honour, tenacity, dedication, hard work and pride. He explained all this to me many times, but I never quite listened closely enough at the time. Eventually, he showed it all to me, when he beat a terminal and incurable cancer and survived 15 long and tough years regardless of his torment and his depleted body. He showed me what it meant to be a hero. To keep going no matter what. He couldn’t have shown me the meaning of hard work in a more powerful way even if he had tried.

My Dad died last November, and it broke my damn heart. It threw me for the biggest loop I’ve yet encountered in this life. I let go of all the careful routines I had built for myself, I let go of my passion and my purpose, I let go of the meaning of me. It’s all part of grieving you’ll tell me, and I hear you. It is. But something was bothering me deep inside. I couldn’t fathom that this heroism my Dad showed me through all his fight would ever stop. I couldn’t understand how it would be possible that it just ended. That all his hard work would just go to waste, and worse, would lose all its meaning. It couldn’t be so. For 15 years, his hard work paid us the biggest dividend: a longer life, more love and time to spend with him. I also know that this dividend for us came at a cost to him, through his pain and suffering, his frustration and anger, his loss of autonomy and his disability… these are all excuses for most people to give up. Not for my Dad though. He remained tenacious, for us. Not for his benefit, but for ours. Think about that, that is some next level shit. Working hard for something he wouldn’t even reap the benefits of, and in fact would cause him to suffer more and for longer. That, in my opinion, is true sacrifice, true love. All hope for a recovery had been lost, yet he still found his purpose within his wife and kids, for as long as he possibly could, and this is something I’ll forever be grateful for and be inspired by. So how could I possibly just accept that this would all just come to an end? I wasn’t bound to let that happen, and I refuse to ever let his journey be in vain, at least from my perspective. My way of carrying it on, giving it trans-generational value, honouring my Dad, honouring myself and my family, my wife and kids, is to work damn hard. Harder than I ever have before. And that is true for my personal life as much as it is for my professional endeavours. Perfection is still bullshit, it will always remain an excuse. There is no perfection in working hard at something, or just getting started, or rising up to
each and every challenge in life. There’s just plain tenacity.

If none of what I’ve just described is enough to get you going on something (anything!), I understand, because it’s been my journey and not yours. We each grow at different rates, depending on the circumstances we’re offered, and we all react differently to our own thoughts, emotions and the events that take place around us.

But then tell me this – would you rather get started on something even if you’re only 60% ready, and see what happens by doing your very best – or would you rather wait until you feel completely ready to get started, knowing that this moment might never come? What’s the worst that could possibly happen if you just took action, like now, today. You might succeed, you might not. You might just realise what your path is not, and that alone is huge. Any mistake you make, any failure you encounter, any lesson you learn, you’ll be grateful for. I’ve never heard of anyone saying they regret working hard at something or giving it a shot. But I have heard some say that they regret they never got started. How incredibly regretful, right? No matter what happens, you will grow, and you will inadvertently create the next iteration of you. At the very least, you’ll inspire those around you to take the plunge too. What’s there to be embarrassed about? The way I see it, there’s nothing there but pride. Because you’ll have taken action and worked hard, pushed as far as you could, and regardless of the outcome, you’ll have showed up for yourself and for your passions. And, if you can show up for others all the while, as my Dad did, then that is as damn near to perfection as you’ll ever get.

So, what have you been hoping to get started on for a while now, perhaps years, but haven’t had the courage to do something about? What dream have you given up on because you think it’s now too late? What is that task or project you’ve been waiting to be perfectly ready for? Think about that idea you love, but it’s just never quite been the right time to take action… Or that other idea you have that everyone believes in, EXCEPT for you…

Now ask yourself again, when is the right time? And how badly do you want it? How much are you willing to bet on yourself now?

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