It is possible to take action even if you don’t feel ready. But how?
“Preparation is two-thirds of any venture.” ~ Amelia Earhart
In life, you’re constantly faced with doing new things. Things that feel scary. Things that you may not feel ready to do. For example, taking the next step in your career, starting your own business, choosing what course to study. But instead of asking yourself if you’re ready, there is a better question to ask: “Don’t ask if you’re ready. Ask if you’re prepared” ~ Suzanne Beukema.
Most likely you will never feel ready, and if you do ever feel that way. You’ve probably waited too long. It is possible to take action even if you don’t feel ready. The key is to be prepared. You can say yes to something and then prepare for it.
Readiness vs. preparation
Ready is abstract. Prepared is concrete. You can make a list of reasonable actions to take in order to prepare. And once you’ve taken those actions, you can declare that you are prepared and move forward. The problem with feeling ready is that it brings up a list of things that might never be done. Somehow, readiness tends to get tangled up with worthiness. This can be a lack of confidence and sometimes perfectionism.
Preparation is different than readiness because it is something tangible you can do that isn’t attached to who you are and your merit. And being prepared doesn’t mean getting an MBA or becoming an expert first. It means that you do what needs to be done in order to move forward now or in the near future (days or weeks). Do your homework, research, prepare, and practice. Give it your all. But don’t wait to say yes. The time will never be just right.
Know that action creates momentum. And you will learn by doing.
I know it’s scary and the fear can feel so all-encompassing. But if you take a deeper look into your fear you can identify the root of it and face it head-on. Learning to move forward, even when you don’t feel ready, will build that muscle and it will become easier to dare to take action the next time.
Here is an exercise to help you get prepared. Write down all of the reasons you think you’re not ready. Now add all of the terrible things that could happen if you move forward. Take a look at this list and for the things that can be helped by preparation, write down what you can do to prepare and do it. You’ve just separated out the things you can control and the things you can’t control.
Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Think of them like the weather. No matter how prepared you are, you can’t stop the rain. But you can take an umbrella.
Dealing with worry
The most likely thing you will discover is that most of the terrible things you worry about never actually happen.
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ~ Erma Bombeck
The first step to end worry is awareness. When you notice you are worrying, stop and write down the things you are worried about. When you keep them in your head, they are less concrete and can cause you more trouble. On paper, they can’t expand and become larger than they actually are. And when they are written down, you can address them one by one and prepare for things that can be prepared for. And forget the rest.
You can also eliminate worry by replacing it with curiosity. Another way to deal with worry is to stay in the present moment.
Life is short
Another reason to say yes, even if you don’t feel ready, is that life is short. As far as I know, we only get one life and it’s happening right now. We are all going to die. That is one of the guarantees of being born. We don’t know when or how, but it will happen.
This may seem grim, but it’s really the good news. Awareness that this is your one shot to do what you love and share it with the world can motivate you to take action even when you are scared.
There’s more good news, if you take action, you will get something out of it no matter what.
After you dare yourself to do something that you don’t feel ready to do, and you prepare and do it anyway, you can always ask yourself a powerful question. This is a question you can ask whether things go the way you wanted them to or not. The question is this: “What does this experience make possible?” ~ Michael Hyatt
If the experience didn’t meet expectations, this question will help you see the way forward. If the experience went well, again, this question will help you see the way forward. Because no matter what happens, you will learn things and you will create opportunities that didn’t exist before. So, there really is no way to lose.
I hope you’re feeling motivated to do the things you’ve been waiting to feel ready for and that you prepare and then take action. This is it. This is your one and only life. It’s time to dare, prepare, and act. Don’t wait, take action now!