When I saw this motivational Post-It on the tree outside my office building, I had to stop and snap a picture. Later that day, when I had a moment to pause and reflect, I thought about what the encouraging phrase written on that note meant to me.
I’m really making a conscious effort to keep moving forward in whatever it is I’m doing, without second-guessing myself every single step of the way. That’s my default mode of daily operation. I filter myself by quality controlling my words and actions. I withhold myself until I’m bulletproof ready and what I have to share is perfect. But I always forget two very important facts: a) you are never ready, so waiting is pointless, and b) perfect does not exist, nor should it. So why on earth am I wasting my time?
Yes, doing something seemingly prematurely is daunting. You risk exposing yourself as someone who is vulnerable (which is not a bad thing – more on that later…), but there is greater, more detrimental risk in stifling your thoughts, your contributions, your gifts, and yourself. By always stalling, you become stagnant and stuck. Even worse, you risk sacrificing opportunities and relationships that you might not have missed had you just taken that leap forward instead of mulling over whether it was worth it or not.
I’m reading Brené Brown‘s two books, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, on living wholeheartedly by accepting and practicing vulnerability (I wrote about her TED Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability”). She is all about letting go of who you think you’re supposed to be according to what the rest of the world says and believing that, contrary to what you or someone else thinks, you are enough.
And it’s from there where I had my epiphany on how to motivate myself to keep at this forward motion: In life, we have to do the things that scare us so we’re no longer afraid and we’re able to move ahead. You might get wounded, but bruises fade, and scars are battle wounds (and damn, do they make excellent stories to tell – it’s all about perspective). You might fail, but you might not. I’d rather flop miserably in the process than wonder how things might have been different had I just given it a try. Like one of my favourite quotations says, “I’d rather have a life of oh wells than a life of what ifs.”
Prime example: For years, I’ve been dreaming of traveling to my favourite city I’ve never been to – London. For years, I’ve pushed this dream to the wings because I believed I didn’t have the time, money, or company to make it happen. This year, I threw caution to the wind and booked a solo trip to London for April 2015, because I realized that if a dream is that important to you, you should hustle to turn it into reality. Sure, I’m nervous about exploring Europe for the first time by myself, because no matter what happens, the experience of preparing for and going on this trip will teach me more than just waiting around at home, wondering ‘what if’. So…
Stop waiting around, set yourself free, and make it happen.
Image by yours truly.