“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain
Ever had an amazing idea and didn’t know where to start? Or better yet, wanted to apply for a new job, start a new sport, try a new recipe, start a weight loss program, change a bad habit, start a thing with that guy or girl you’ve been eyeing and then once you decide “Today is the day!”, all these anxiety provoking thoughts start fluttering and multiplying in your head. You feel paralyzed and finally decide it ain’t worth the trouble? What if I fail? What if I’m not good enough? What if people think I’m stupid or tacky or cheesy for doing this? What if this leads to the total collapse of the human species? Ok so maybe that last one is far-fetched but I’m Italian so my drama comes out of me once in a while! This was exactly what was going through my mind when I decided to launch my blog. And the irony in all of this was that getting over your fears and taking action was the exact reason I decided to launch my blog in the first place!
First, all the running, swirling thoughts in your brain before undertaking a new action is normal. The more the action is out of our normal routine, the greater anxiety it will generate. We, as humans, are programmed to dislike change. For the most part, we like what is familiar, what we know, what we can predict. Have you ever stayed in a bad relationship/job/apartment longer than you should have simply because doing something about it would require too much energy? Change is uncomfortable, we don’t know where it leads and we fear we will be worse off than when we began. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? But sometimes, there is a spark inside of us to do something and action ignites this spark into something we can learn and grow from.
So, if like me, you’re caught wondering whether to go for it or stay with your current, perfectly content, situation, ask yourself these 3 questions…
“What if” I don’t take action…
What if I didn’t accept the job offer? What if I didn’t go on that trip? More importantly ask yourself: how will it make you feel if you don’t do it? Several years ago, when I went back to work after taking a yearlong maternity leave with my first baby, I knew I wanted a second child right away (clock was tickin’ on this 37-year-old mama!). I was content going back to my old job as a senior marketing research consultant and getting back to my routine. However, less than a month later, I got a call from a head hunter, who offered me a great opportunity and instinctively I was interested. Then the thoughts started: What if I don’t like it? What if I don’t get along with my new colleagues? What will my boss think if I leave after only one month after my return? What will it look like on my CV that I have changed jobs after only a couple of years? But then I asked myself THE crucial question: What if I don’t go for it? How would it make me feel? And my answer was that I would feel like I missed out on an opportunity. Heck, I may not even get the job, but if I don’t at least try, I will never know and I would regret not having tried because another part of me strongly believed this was a good thing and that I was the right person for this job.
Trusting your gut!
Our gut is truly our second brain. It can tell us when certain things make us uncomfortable in a bad way and when things scare us but excite us at the same time. But you have to be in tune with the subtle difference between the two. This is what happened when I got the call telling me I got the job. I was a week late in my period (sorry if TMI but that’s how I roll) and told myself that if I was in fact pregnant I wouldn’t take the job because it would not be fair to start a job and leave after less than a year to go on mat leave. How would it look? What would people say? So I took the pregnancy test and it was…. arkkkkk POSITIVE! My first thought: Shoot! I really want that job! So I listened to my gut and signed the contract anyway and crossed my fingers that I would have an understanding boss. Well, turned out I ended up miscarrying a few weeks later. I was sad but even more crushing would have been that I would’ve made my decision based on another premise I didn’t know the outcome to. Trusting my gut was the best thing I could’ve done for myself.
Envision yourself succeeding
Imagine yourself in the new job position, with the ideal weight, in a relationship with the person you’ve been eyeing. How will it make you feel? Without over thinking it, what will you feel you gained? How can your life be improved? After having my two kids (yes got pregnant, about a year later), I had an extra 15 pounds of post pregnancy weight to lose. It wasn’t a big deal, clothes still fit me but I didn’t feel like myself and it was bugging me the crap out of me. Yet it wasn’t bugging me enough to actually do something. Until one day I got fed up of hearing myself complain that I only had 15 pounds to lose and how cool it would be to actually go back to my pre-preggo weight. I was tired of wearing my spanx one piece bathing suit at the kiddie pool and finally decided to contact an old colleague who was starting a challenge group with a Beachbody program. The first thing she told me was to picture myself with the weight off and ask myself: What was my ultimate goal? What would it feel like when I accomplished my goal? Mine was to obviously to look good in a bikini but also to be a healthy, vibrant, better version of myself. That mental image stuck with me and motivated me to keep pushing play. It fueled my workouts and played into changing my eating habits. Change didn’t happen overnight, there were baby steps but one day that same image I envisioned was staring right back at me in the bathroom mirror. Yay!
So remember: Every decision you take is the right one for you at the moment you take it. If you succeed it is the right decision and if you fail it is still the right decision because you learned from it. In the end, if you have your heart set on doing something, don’t ruminate over the negative self-talk, just go for it! I bet you even the slightest action will make you feel proud that you are finally doing something towards your goal and truly living your life.
Now tell me… what have you always wanted to do but were too scared to do?