Some of us spend a good deal of our lives waiting for the perfect moment. We bide our time, we plan carefully, and then hold off until we feel like the forces outside of our control have aligned in such a way to make us successful.
Except sometimes that perfect moment never comes around.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being prudent and patient, particularly when making big life changes, sometimes there is no perfect time to act. There is only taking a leap of faith, taking a risk, and dealing with the ramifications from there.
Because if you’re waiting for a unicorn to come around as a sign that the time is right, you’ll be waiting for a very long time.
Today, let’s talk a bit about taking calculated risks, stepping outside of your comfort zone, and taking care of yourself throughout the process. Your goals are within reach, you just have to recognize that, sometimes, the best time to act is right now.
The Science of Hesitation
Why do we find ourselves waiting to take action on the things we want? A lot of it has to do with our nature as human beings.
Discomfort and uncertainty can make us feel unsafe, causing negative emotions, like anxiety, to rear their ugly heads. That’s because our brains will often tell us that because we don’t know the outcome of a particular situation, the situation itself could be dangerous. And, since your brain’s natural instinct is to stay safe, you’ll feel motivated to avoid uncertain situations.
While there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing your own safety, this reaction can stunt your growth and prevent you from acting on many different things, things that you may even enjoy in the long run. In fact, unpredictability has been shown to continually increase our learning, whereas having a set routine can actually prevent us from growth.
Taking a look at all of this, it may feel like there are some rather large contradictions. How can you motivate yourself into action even though your natural instinct is to stick to the status quo? How can you convince yourself that you’re safe and that you should push forward even when your own brain chemistry is trying to sabotage you?
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone and Taking a Risk
While there are no one-size-fits-all rules for addressing your fears and insecurities and learning how to be more comfortable with discomfort, there are a few things you can try to propel yourself forward. Here are a few ideas for taking that leap of faith:
Take Note of What You’re Actually Afraid Of
When we’re dealing with feelings of hesitation in the face of uncertainty, it can be helpful to take a step back and ask ourselves, “why?” It may be more specific than you think. For instance, I’ve worked with people before who have a fear of failure, but what exactly does this mean? Are they afraid of going through the stressful moments (or what they perceive as failures) all by themselves? Are they worried about how people will treat them should they make a mistake?
Getting as specific as possible when addressing the root of the matter will help set you up better for overcoming these fears. If you don’t quite know what you’re dealing with, how can you handle it in the first place?
Lean into your fear.
Accept Your Lack of Control
Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is accept that certain situations are beyond what we can control, and that’s okay!
While it’s easy to accept that you need to let go of your need for control, it can be much harder to actually practice.
These are a few ways that you can help yourself achieve this:
- Try to live in the present and let go of the baggage you may be carrying from your past
- Lower expectations of yourself and others
- Find constructive ways to cope with anxiety (it’s always all right to ask for help)
- Put your energy into things you can control instead; focus on what’s working
Find Your Support System (Your Tribe)
When we intentionally (and unintentionally) put ourselves into stressful situations, feelings of loneliness and isolation can start to creep in. Having a strong support system in place can help prevent this.
Find a trusted friend, family member, colleague, or even a coach that will listen when you speak about your struggles, but also encourage you to find a new way of thinking about things. This person should boost you up and help give you strength when you feel like you have none left. They can’t handle your struggles for you, but they can be a strong support for when you feel overwhelmed.
Take Care of Yourself Through the Struggle
When you’re pushed beyond what you think you can bear, feelings of burnout, exhaustion, and even anxiety can overtake your life. That’s why it’s so important to take care of yourself as you go through these stressful moments.
Give yourself time to rest. You may not feel like you’re being “productive” by taking time for yourself, but in reality, you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure to pace yourself.
Along this same vein, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. You can’t operate to your full potential if you’re tired, so create a bedtime routine that allows you to fully unwind, recharge, and bounce back, ready for the next day.
Celebrate small and big wins, and try to include your support system within these celebrations. Even if it’s just a simple phone call to let them know about your achievements, taking a moment to acknowledge how far you’ve come will boost your energy and help stoke the fire for the next big hurdle.
Most importantly, consistently check in with yourself to make sure you’re heading in the direction you want to go. Take notice of your needs and do everything in your power to meet those needs for yourself. Never, ever be afraid to ask for help if that’s what you need. Speaking to a professional is always a good idea, particularly if you’re experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety.
Putting It All Together
The longer you wait for your unicorn to arrive, the more you may come to realize that you wish you’d gotten started sooner. You are the only person who can achieve your goals, and the best time to start the journey toward achieving them is today.
Maybe you feel like you could use some direction as you start your journey. Or perhaps you need someone to help propel you out of your comfort zone. That’s why I’m here to help. Get in touch with me to schedule a meeting, and we’ll get your journey started together.