When we see someone who is successful, or who has achieved something we want to achieve, we usually only pay attention to what happened after the tipping point. We mistake success for being easy because we don’t see everything that led up to the moment when the person first started making progress. It’s easy to ignore the periods of inaction, uncertainty and doubt, and to forget we all have to go through those emotions before the path becomes clear.
If there is something you want that you haven’t taken action to get, it doesn’t mean your time has been wasted. All of the hesitancy and confusion you’ve felt has been part of the process to bring you to where you are right now. Everything that you’ve done has been leading up to this exact moment, when you are poised to tip the scale in a new direction.
Action is overrated – and I say this as a woman of action. I like to get shit done. I like to make decisions to do things and then do them. But there are times when focusing only on action is a limiting perspective. Action with no direction will not take you very far. And if you don’t feel prepared to act, it may be because you need some time to figure out where you want to go.
That’s okay. Don’t forget that even when you’re not acting, you’re building momentum. All of the wavering and missteps is part of processing your values and goals, which is part of walking the path. You are already walking the path.
I started this blog over a year ago, in March of 2010. I didn’t have a clear message or purpose, and I didn’t even know why I was doing it in the first place. I just knew I had something important to say, and I needed to start saying stuff in order to figure out what my message was. I see a lot of now big-name bloggers who started small, but with a crystal clear goal in mind, who made rapid progress in building their audience.
That is definitely not me. I posted an average of once a month for the first year (pathetic by blogging standards). I didn’t change my design from the default WordPress theme until a few months ago. I didn’t know why I was writing, or for whom, or why anyone would want to read my stuff in the first place.
That entire process, though, was an essential, necessary, irrefutable part of the path I had to walk to get where I am right now. A few months ago I began having this inkling of a feeling that something was about to change. I started making small design changes to my site, and then went balls out and learned basic web programming and web design to create the site you see now. I’m no expert, but it’s not too shabby for someone who couldn’t even create a new document in Photoshop about three months ago.
I started researching blogging technique (yes, there is such a thing), and committing myself to posting at least twice a week. This has all been while I’ve been working a pretty tough day job – a little something called residency, which can be so demanding that the governing body of training programs had to mandate work hour restrictions a while back of 80 hours a week and 30 hours in a row max.
Most importantly, though, I’m refining my message. There are a couple reasons why I was put on this planet, and I think one of them is to spread a message that you – yes you, reading right now – can do anything you want to, as long as you make a decision to do it, and start walking the path.
Coming to this realization requires both reflection and self-awareness. You need to know who you are before you know what you want. When you know what you want, you need to ruthlessly, unapologetically, pursue it. There is a time for examination, and then there is a time for action.
Hey readers, what do you want that you’re on the verge of taking a step to achieve? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.
Photo by h.koppdelaney