How do you know when you’re ready?
And does it matter?
How do you know when you’re ready to leap into the next opportunity? How do you know whether your ego is tempting you to make the leap before you’re ready, or whether you’re really ready?
Is it Ego?
Our ego may fool us sometimes and encourage us to leap before we are ready, but more often it’s the opposite: we hold back because we fear we are not yet ready. Of course fear is driven by ego. So in that sense, it’s always ego.
Ego drives us to leap or it drives us to hold back.
Stories We Tell
The fear that we are not ready manifests in different forms. Some of these are:
- a list of prerequisites that we believe we must have in place before we leap
- reasons why it’s not the right time, either in our lives or in the culture
- a list of things that we need to research or gain certainty about before we leap
- a list of unknowns to which we want answers before we make a move
It’s easy to get caught up in the story that starts with “I’ll be ready when …”
The problem with that game is that when we reach the point at which we thought we would be ready, there is a new step of “I’ll be ready when …”
It’s a cycle that can continue endlessly, if we don’t stop it. And in the time it takes us to “get ready,” life, and opportunities, pass.
Where the Growth Lies
In my life so far, my moments of greatest growth and contribution have come when I’ve been willing to take a leap even when I did not feel fully ready.
To be clear, I’m not saying that we should jump into the deep end of the pool without first knowing how to swim. For me, it has helped to sit back for a moment of reflection. Some things I consider:
- whether this opportunity is aligned with my values and mission;
- whether I might regret not taking the leap when I look back 5 years from now; and
- how strong the pull is to do the thing that I feel I’m “not ready” to do
I’ve learned over time that if I really feel called to do something, yet it also makes me a little nervous, then it’s a good sign I should leap. We cannot override our calling.
Every time I have taken the leap to step into something slightly bigger than what I believed myself capable of doing, I have been rewarded by immense growth and reward.
The Truth: We Are Never Ready
Here’s the truth I’ve learned: we never really feel ready because we never really are ready.
What we think we need to be ready for is based on our expectation of what will happen. But expectation is just hope, it’s not reality. The truth is that we don’t know what will happen. And if we don’t know what will happen, there is no way to be ready for it
The only thing we can do is to acknowledge that we will never feel ready. We can always find reasons why we should hold back. Why it’s prudent to wait. We can always find reasons to re-edit and revise and research. But there comes a time when we must say to ourselves: this is important. I can’t hold off any longer. I don’t feel ready, but I’m going to leap anyway.
And then we just need to do it.
Go out there and kick ass this week.
If You’re Ready, I’m ready.
And now, it’s time for me to walk my talk. If you’re ready, I’m ready. 🙂
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