“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right.” ~Amy Poehler
Ready isn’t a state of being, it’s a state of mind. Or maybe I should say we don’t have to be anything to qualify for the label of being ready for something; rather, it’s a mindset in which we choose to embrace the unknown. My story starts like this…
A few months into my soul-searching, I realized I had to move. Away from my unfulfilling job, away from my unhealthy habits perpetuated by my city lifestyle, away from my complete and utter stagnancy. But this also meant moving away from friends I’ve come to know so well, family I love, and a sense of security that you can’t really put a price on.
I knew I had to create a big enough change for myself for it to feel like I was starting over. I wanted to live somewhere where no one knew my name or, better yet, where no one knew anyone who knew my name. Notice I said I knew I needed that change, not that maybe I would move, or I was considering it. Did it scare me? Yes. But did I know it was what I craved and needed on a soul level? Also yes. A bigger yes.
I started looking into some towns out west. The mountains were calling, but it was the polar opposite of the east coast city life. I had no idea what it would take to live in weather like that, let alone which towns I would be happy in.
After some research, I found an apartment complex I liked and added myself to the waitlist. This was in January, and my current lease wouldn’t be up until October. I definitely wasn’t ready to pay triple the monthly rent amount to break my lease.
Well, fast-forward to September and it was time to give my notice of whether I would be moving out. Would I stay or would I go? Everything inside me was screaming at me to take the chance and go. But I didn’t feel ready. All the “what ifs” started flooding in… What if I put my notice in then change my mind? What if I don’t put my notice in then change my mind?
Eventually, I silenced everything except my gut, my intuition, and it said ever so calmly and confidently go. So I put in my notice and ended my lease before I knew where I would be going next.
This would be the first step of many that I decided to take before I felt ready. The thing is our heart knows what’s right before our mind does.
And you know what? After I put my notice in, I got an email from the apartment out west that I had applied to almost a year prior. They had a unit available two weeks after my lease would end. I was shocked. I don’t think it could have worked out any better than that.
This first step was the best decision I’ve ever made because it’s opened me up to so many amazing experiences and relationships that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I got to know a place that was completely different than any home I had ever known, I truly felt the most independent I ever had, and I met some beautiful souls who I know I’ll get to call lifelong friends.
That first step showed me that the unknown can be intimidating as hell, but if you choose to embrace it, it can open you up to so much growth.
Here’s what I’ve learned from doing more things before I felt ready.
It helps you grow your faith in yourself.
It allows you to see things about yourself that maybe you wouldn’t normally see just doing the typical day-to-day things. By putting yourself in new (and hard) situations, you’re able to see yourself navigate the unfamiliar, and do so successfully. You not only learn how to do new things, but also see firsthand that you’re capable of so much more than you previously thought. This allows for greater trust in your feelings and intuition.
You create a new baseline of bravery.
When you start to build up this confidence in your ability to handle a variety of new situations, it creates this new sort of baseline. A new standard to which you hold yourself. In knowing you can handle more than you could before, you tend to then, in turn, expect more of yourself and function from a raised baseline of what you consider to be brave. Or in other words, it takes more to intimidate you. Less scares you. Which means you can do more.
You find new ways to do things.
It’s interesting how your mind can adapt. Sometimes when we get stuck on a certain plan, it hinders the outcome. For example, if we’re so focused on thinking we need to research art history for a year before we take up painting, that takes away a lot of our time and fun, doesn’t it?
When you decide that you’re capable enough to get something done, the “how” somehow becomes less important. You become open to more possibilities and new ways of getting things done. In the painting example, maybe you open yourself up to the possibility that you’re too hard on yourself or that you don’t have to know all the history to enjoy the activity. Or maybe you realize you enjoy painting with your fingers even though all the artists you’ve read about used paint brushes.
You find more fulfillment.
This openness created throughout the process of intentionally and repeatedly trusting yourself encourages you to try things that you wouldn’t typically delve into. You find it easier to follow your own curiosity, and things that once seemed silly suddenly seem intriguing.
For me, this looked like following a spiritual nudge to sign up for Reiki training even though I knew nothing about it. This ended up leading to a mediumship practice that’s helped me and other people heal. When you build on things that make you happy, it only leads to more happiness.
You become unstoppable.
You start to see this confidence weaving into all aspects of your life. When you trust yourself over anyone and anything else, you’re not as easily shaken by what life throws at you. That’s not to say it’s always easy. Sometimes you need to make decisions you know are right for you, even though they’re difficult. And sometimes you know you need to take steps to start feeling happy before you’ll stop feeling sad.
Emotions are complicated, but if you get to a point to where you can hold space for them, you allow yourself to learn from them and work with them, and that is truly powerful.