How many times have you thought you wanted to do something new or different only to pelt yourself with a volley of Yah-Buts?
Yah-but I’m too…
- scared of failing
- scared of succeeding
- worried about what others would say
- short of time
- short of energy
- short of funds
- convinced I’ll never finish
How many times have you listened to the critical voice inside your head come up with an objection for every idea, every wish, every dream, every new road you would travel that takes you away from your familiar, safe routine and opens you up to changes in your thinking, your self concepts, your actions and the reactions of others?
What do you do when the negative thoughts tell you over and over you’ll never be able to do something so why try?
Use your imagination to help you find what you want to do.
Imagine your mind as a home – your home. Put a face to the negative thoughts – perhaps someone who’s been critical in real life – and escort them to the front door of your mind. Show them out. Tell them you need some critic free think time and if you ever want them to come back you’ll send an invitation. Negative thoughts are persistent. It may not be a permanent eviction the first time around, but you’ll get better – stronger – each time you refuse to give negativity a voice. Then take time to explore your idea or desire and see where it might lead.
2. Find your Big Why.
Once you identify what you want to do, focus on why you want to do it.
For example, what I wanted to do was write a book about how it feels to be a bald woman in a hair obsessed society from the perspective of many different women. I knew it would take a lot of time, that I really knew nothing about the publishing business and that it would cost money I didn’t have available to get it edited and published.
Why I wanted to do it was to help women struggling with hair loss to step out of the shadows of embarrassment and shame surrounding female baldness, reconnect with their courage, shine up their scalps, strut their stuff and reclaim their joy.
But there was another, even bigger why behind that. Every day there are children who experience hair loss – from a myriad of causes. Whatever the cause, hair loss can result in loss of self-esteem and confidence, pain over bullying in school and a fear of exposure. If adult women don’t change their perceptions of bald women, how can we expect our children to? How can we enable the upcoming generation to look at female baldness with no more thought than they do male baldness if we don’t change our own perceptions?
What is YOUR Big Why?
3. Surround yourself with knowledgeable, supportive people.
What you don’t know, you can learn from people who do know. Sometimes the only thing standing between taking another baby step forward and giving up in overwhelm and frustration is the encouragement from someone who understands how you feel and has insight into what to do next. Find a support group, join a club, get a mentor, take an online or real time class. The easiest way to take that first step is to Google your area of interest or need and find out what’s available for you to participate in.
4. Make a reverse map.
What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to end up? Start at the end point of what you want to achieve and work backwards. Ask yourself what you need to do or learn first to get to that step. Then look at that task and ask what you need to do or learn first to get there. Continue backwards until you reach your starting point – the knowledge of what you want to do and why it is worth doing.
5. Break each step down into small, doable tasks and plug them into a calendar or planner.
I love to mark completed tasks off my To Do List. What I love even more is having a short list every day. My mentor told me to put the most important six things I need to do tomorrow on my To Do List before I leave my desk each day. That way I get up and don’t have to waste time trying to figure out what to do next – it’s all there in prioritized black and white. And while making tomorrow’s list, take a few moments to write down something new you learned that day, and three things you’re grateful for to give yourself a shot of enthusiasm and excitement each morning.
Dare to dream, but also DO.
Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.