I’m Not Ready!

Some of the best business advice (and cool life hack, for that matter) that I’ve ever received was: Say “YES!” to an opportunity you really want BEFORE you feel completely ready. The business coach suggested that if you start walking, the path will reveal itself. He reminded me that success favors the brave.

Have you ever been offered an opportunity that you’d really love to have or do, but you didn’t feel personally “ready” for it? I remember having this feeling off and on my whole adult life, both personally and professionally. Job promotions, stepping into management, marriage, raising kids, delivering a keynote address for a company’s annual meeting, working with a large DSO, hiring an employee, buying a home. And yet, every time, without exception, when I said “YES!” even before I felt “ready,” I’ve quickly grown into the opportunity and eventually excelled at all of them.

Waiting to step into opportunities until we’re completely ready is a protection mechanism and a close cousin to the “imposter syndrome.” What if they find out I’m not as smart as they think I am? What if I fail? I’m not sure how this is supposed to go. I haven’t had enough experience or practice.

All of these are stories we have made up in our minds. But, the true story is that most people don’t have everything figured out in advance, and perfection is an illusion. Even if you were able to lay out the path, figure out all the steps ahead of time, and feel perfectly confident before saying “Yes!” there are no guarantees that things will actually go as you’ve planned anyway. As a matter of fact, most times they don’t.

So, what’s the answer? The next time you hesitate on an opportunity, hunch, or idea that you’re excited about, and you feel yourself doubting if you’re ready, change the narrative in your mind. Ask yourself better questions and remind yourself of all the past triumphs you’ve had when you took a chance, and it worked out great. What if you are smart enough to figure it out as you go along?  Who can you lean on for support as you navigate the new territory?  How many of the folks who have mastered the same tasks once felt like you do but did it anyway? (The answer is likely ALL of them!)

WE are in control of the story about our future. No one is 100% ready for something they’ve never done. If you really want it, GO FOR IT. Leap before you know how to fly and flap like hell on the way down. It might be awkward and ugly at first, but you’ll get it, and you’ll land in a place you were once just dreaming about.

Confidence is the result of the courage to start and the subsequent experience you gain. You can do it. Say “YES!” and jump.

“Start before you’re ready.  Don’t prepare, begin.”

~ Mel Robbins, The 5-Second Rule


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