I was thinking about the one piece of advice I would give someone that would guarantee fast growth. There aren’t many things that you can guarantee, but this one is a sure bet:
START BEFORE YOU’RE READY. We have heard it before, and it’s true. Let’s dive into how to apply that.
Start before you’re ready. What this is telling you is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. This is probably the thing, that if I look back, I would attribute the most to me moving forward. In order to keep moving forward toward the vision that you have for your life, you have to get uncomfortable.
Don’t wait until the right time, because that time won’t come. There will always be a reason why now isn’t quite the perfect time.
Ok, so what can we DO, to help us start before we’re ready?
Say yes to things that scare you and feel too big.
- Say yes to things that scare you and feel too big. These are things that pique your interest, but that you might have always been quick to turn down because you weren’t sure how you would do it, or you felt like it was a stretch. That’s EXACTLY why you need to do it. That stretch zone is where the magic happens :). John Maxwell talks about this concept of growth, and the need to stretch in his book, ‘15 Invaluable Laws of Growth’, by the way – such a good one. Imagine stretching a rubber band, creating tension. The rubber band resists and wants to go back to its natural state, in the same unchanged size and shape. You know when something feels like a stretch, and because of ego and fear your initial gut reaction may be to pass. But something inside you asks ‘what if’… Follow that, and do the thing that scares you.
- Say ‘yes’ and figure out the ‘how’ later. Commit to doing it, and then work backward to figure out how. You will figure it out, and after you do, say ‘yes’ to the next one. Those opportunities add up to so much growth.
- Action leads to confidence, not the other way around. I think it’s easy to assume that confidence comes first; that we need that in order to take the action. Really, in order to get confidence, we have to take the action that feels a bit uncomfortable. It’s the courage we have to have first, in order to take the action.
Look for small opportunities
- Look for the ‘small’ opportunities we have every day to push ourselves just a little bit out of our comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be massive. They all add up. We don’t have to work at creating the opportunities, they are already there…we just have to watch for them.
- For example, maybe you tend to just go with the flow and go along with what your team wants, but really you feel like something else should happen, or a project should be approached in a different way. An opportunity there would be to recognize when that happens and speak up. If that is not something you normally do, that can be really uncomfortable, but each time, it gets easier, and I can assure you, you will get more confidence. Like I’ve said before though, don’t get tied to the outcome. To their reaction. The growth happens because you spoke up at all and regardless of the outcome, at the end of the day, you can feel good about the fact that you spoke up.
- Maybe you’re starting to run again, and you’re tired and want to stop, but you go one more minute, or you see the big tree two blocks down and tell yourself you’re going to run to that tree. That is a small opportunity available to you, that if you recognize it for what it is – just that – an opportunity to stretch, that is so simple, yet not always easy.
Nothing great ever came from comfort zones
- Nothing great ever came from comfort zones. Have you heard that quote? A few years ago that was the screensaver on my phone. I had it on there to serve as a reminder every time I looked at my phone. It was top of mind daily for me to look for opportunities to stretch.
- You can stay safe. You may not experience as much pain, adversity and uncertainty this way. And you certainly won’t feel as if you are most alive, feeling joy, love, pride, and growth. The beauty is on the other side of the uncertainty. And there are lessons you learn along the way.
- Consciously pushing yourself out of your comfort zone daily will lead to extreme growth. Have the tough conversation. Run the extra tenth of a mile. Make the phone call. Ask for what you want.. Put the project out there that has been weighing on your heart for months or years. It will be scary but do it anyway.
- Don’t wait until you’re ready. You can always find a reason why now is not a good time.
- If I had one piece of advice to give, this would be it. This encompasses so much and is sure to change your life – don’t wait until you’re ready, get a little uncomfortable. Just start.
So then, what keeps us from starting?
Fear of Failure
- I think this is actually the fear of what others will think of you when you fail.
- What other people think of you is none of your business
- This has been hard for me. I am a people pleaser by nature. I have always cared about what people think. I have always wanted people to be happy; to the extent that I would feel responsible to make them happy. I now know that of course, we can’t carry that burden for someone else.
- It took me until I was in my thirties to actually understand that what people think of you is actually more about them. Their insecurities, their experiences, their fear.
- Failure will happen. Expect it. If you don’t fail, you won’t grow. You will remain where you are. Expect to run into obstacles. Don’t run away from them.
Our character is built through our failures. The lessons learned and character built through the failures make you who you are today. Fear of failure comes at the cost of regret. Regret that you never did what was pulling at you, or what you always wondered about because you cared too much about what ‘they’ thought. ‘They’ aren’t the ones that will have to live with regret.
Start before you’re ready friends <3. I’m rooting for you!