I sent a pretty scary email to my tribe yesterday (more on this to come soon). I procrastinated so much because the voice in my head kept whispering its mean little mantra: You’re not ready yet. Oh I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been stopped in my tracks because of this little bugger.
You’re not ready. You need more time, more experience, more ticks on your resume.
More, more, more.
The thing is, sometimes that voice is very convincing. It resembles rational thinking when you know that you need to prepare a bit more or ask for help before you do something. The problem is it can disguise itself so very sneakily, so it highjacks logic and turns your self esteem on its head. The result?
Confidence – zero
Self belief – non-existent
Doubt – full to the bream
How freaking horrible right? A tiny little phrase causing havoc to your internal world. Because up until then your heart had the lead role. You had made the choices and steps necessary to get you where you needed to be in this moment, the moment before doubt creeps in. Even if it was subconsciously, you worked smart and considered your options in one way or another. You did this because deep down you know what you are going for is right. The decision to leap (or simply hop) originated from the right place: the place where your heart meets your soul, where things simply flow because you’ve been guided from within. That place is not tinted with expectations, societal norms or parental instruction.
The problem is that once you question this, it is very easy to lose conviction. The brain simply is not capable of keeping up with your inner compass (thank you to my beautiful coach Jen for this realisation) because it wants you to have a clearly signposted roadmap to where you are going. Yet a roadmap is usually non-existent with big decisions, right? Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith before you have figured out all the intricate, practical details your logical left brain is requesting.
So, when doubt comes in telling you: You’re not ready, you have no choice but to believe it. It makes you feel like you are not ready, so you tell yourself This must be true, I don’t feel ready – I should wait till I feel ready for sure. It almost feels like relief as if you’ve been saved from a certain disaster if you went ahead with your irresponsible plan. But more often than not, you will never feel 100% ready, am I right?
How do you distinguish between a limiting fear, that wants to keep you small and safe in your little box of familiarity and, a genuine gut feeling that now is not the right time, or you do in fact need to work on the details a bit more? When is it you need to acknowledge the doubt for what it is: a loving warning that you are about to put yourself in new, uncertain territory and when should you respect the need to pause and reconsider?
When I find myself stuck between these two places, not knowing which is my heart and which my head, I go back to answer these 3 questions::
1. How would it feel to do this now?
If I get an expansive feeling of freedom, excitement and joy – I’m spot on. It usually is accompanied by a hint of fear but the good kind. The kind that says Yep, this is it.
2. How would it feel if I put this off?
If the response is disappointment, resentment or simply an icky feeling of contraction, I have my answer. If it’s relief, well something is not right there.
3. What do I need to feel ready and why?
This is a bonus question. If you have answered the first two, you will know whether you need to go ahead or pause and reconsider. So either way, answering this one will give you valuable insights to what needs to happen next. You will either get answers in the form of actions (like I need some guidance in the how) or feelings (like confidence or trust that things will work out). Either way this is where the juice is – you can use this information to move forward one way or another.
We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success
– Henry David Thoreau
++ And now over to you. Tell me, how do you deal with the ‘you’re not ready’ feeling?