Are you ready to step forward, finally?
In our hearts resides a passion and a purpose. Some of us seek this out and discover. Some of us know and act accordingly. Others stay unaware and see no reason to consider. Each path is fine. There is no right or wrong.
I write then to those of you who:
- know you have a passion and a purpose
- are conscious of the direction you wish to head in
- feel pulled, drawn, impelled, driven, hungry, and unrequited in your pursuits.
How are you going? How is it for you right now?
If you are clocking up the years in life you might realise that time is passing by quicker than you imagined. Or you might be young, keen and still filled with a knowing that you logically have a long life to live so you will get there eventually. Or maybe you are in what some call your third stage of life. You have done the learning and training. You did your time professionally or career wise. You ticked the boxes and now you want to give back. There is something in you that wants to have a go at following your dreams that you put aside for too long. Or maybe you are an entrepreneur at heart. You have ideas that just need a place and people to manifest.
All these examples have one thing in common. For you to achieve your dream or live and work with passion and purpose you need to step forward. You need to get past the ‘gonna do’ stage into the ‘doing’ stage. All the talk and all the consideration will go nowhere without action.
But something stops you in your tracks. For many with a dream or a vision there are a few barriers. Number one is fear. Fear of success can be the most daunting. What if you actually get this to work? What if it really is successful? Then your life will change as you know it. You will no longer have excuses. You will not be able to keep talking about it you will be living it.
And the other fear. Naturally we want to protect ourselves. So some may say there is a fear of failure. Another way is to say what if you go and do all this work, create the reality and it goes nowhere. Then what? Do you worry about the waste? The opinions of others? The frustrations. There is something in this that will unsettle you enough to get in the way of stepping forward.
What this comes down to is risk. Good old fashioned risk management. Considering the scale of your dream and the risk you are taking, how can you self-manage and mitigate these risks. What can you do to create a foundation, a base from which you launch that protects and insulates you from the ride ahead?
For some it will be practical and tangible. For others it will be internal states of mind and energy management. It will vary as much as individuals vary. What is constant though is the need to be clear about what YOU need to be ok stepping forward.
For me it is a close group of colleagues and friends who I trust with whom I can share and discuss ideas. These people are like informal sounding boards, reality checks and cheerleaders all wrapped into one. They are also unconditional, supportive and see me as equal but on a different path. This group doesn’t say ‘I told you so’ or ‘Who are you to be doing that’ or 'let me tell you how I did it'. If invited, they may suggest ideas or ask if I have considered matters I seem to have overlooked. For me, this group is genuine, trustworthy and balanced.
Another support for me is a regular discussion with a coach/mentor. For as long as I can remember now I have always sought the support of an independent person that can listen, ask questions and guide. The combination of all three is essential for me. I reflect on what I learn, what works for me and decide whether to act. What helps is that when I do step forward and make a mistake I can work through the learning in a safe way. No performance management appraisal with a bonus attached to it. Pure development. I choose to do this as well. I could choose not to.
Even with the support of others, stepping forward can be daunting. In my view the degree of resistance, frustration, fear or other challenging state is commensurate with the scale of the vision or dream. The bigger you want to make an impact the more I believe we find ways to procrastinate or distract ourselves.
A deeper way
So to truly be ready to step forward we need to do something that is even harder.
Be prepared to not judge you. Others will. No doubt about it. Easy to say, hard to do. Yet our toughest critic is often our own self. Why wouldn’t we be? We have learned over a lifetime from other critics to focus on what is wrong or does not work. Yes there are exceptions. Generalising we will see more people tend to pick things out that need to be fixed or are not working. This tendency makes it difficult when turning to ourselves.
Learning how to accept ourselves and not self judge is equally a lifetime pursuit. I leave you with a few reflections. When are you accepting of you? When are you judging of you? Once you begin to see the pattern you will see the triggers. Then ask yourself why and what can you do to respond and see differently.