The Start is What Stops Most People
My work as a life coach involves supporting and empowering people to align their actions with their passions and values. Often times people say that they want something, but then don’t take the actual steps to get there. Their actions are not connected to their desires.
The start is stopping them (and probably you too.)
So why do people have trouble starting?
Do you remember that old boyfriend or girlfriend of yours? The one who you knew wasn’t right for you, but you continued to date them anyway. You spent months going through the motions and hoping that maybe they would change, or that maybe things would get better?
We often stay in those types of situations because we are afraid of what might be on the other side. We think the grass might be greener, but we are worried to find out for real, because if it isn’t greener, we can’t hop over the fence and go back.
At least the situation we are in is a known quantity, even if we aren’t happy. We know what to expect, and have set our expectations low enough to be okay with it.
Sounds awful, doesn’t it?
2) Fear of failure.
You know the old saying, “It’s better to try and fail than to never try.” Well, guess what? We do the never try part quite a bunch.
When I was teaching, my special education students would often just not do the work. Literally, do nothing. The more I delved into their reasons, the more I realized that for them failure was just another point against them--another reason they were in special ed in the first place. For their own ego, it was better to do nothing, than to try to do something and do it poorly.
Unfortunately, it’s not just my former students who think this way.
3) Fear of being judged.
Whenever we do something that is slightly out of character for us, people tend to look at us a little sideways. They might ask: Why did you do that? Why would you want to do that?
It’s crazy how often we actually do things for other people, rather than for ourselves. How often we do things because we don’t want to look bad, or want to look especially good.
Although it took me quite awhile, I have realized that I will probably be judged no matter what I do, so I might was well do something that I enjoy and that fulfills me.
4) Fear of losing connections or relationships
When I told my parents that my husband and I were moving to France, my Dad asked “judger” style questions and then proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t in my 20s anymore and that I shouldn’t have these romantic notions about how grand life was in France.
After taking some time to collect my thoughts, I realized that this was coming from a place of love. (Mom, I know you are reading this, so please tell Dad I know that he had the best of intentions.)
When we start off on a new adventure, or make a new pledge to ourselves, we sometimes leave people behind. If we decide to quit smoking, it means sitting inside the restaurant while all of our smoking friends go outside. When we decide to stop drinking, those parties that we used to attend seem a little awkward. When we decide to start bringing our lunch from home, we lose out on some of the laughs with our colleagues. When we decide to move to another country (me), we leave behind friends and family.
Normally, in the face of all this fear we make excuses. We say things like:
- I don’t have enough time.
- I don’t have enough money.
- Now is not the right time.
- I can start later, when it will be better.
- And so on...
All these reasons are just masking your fear. It’s okay to be afraid, but do you want fear to run your life? Do you want fear to keep you from reaching your dreams? Do you want fear to prevent you from being happy? Do you want fear to drive your actions, or better, in-actions?
Don’t let fear be your guide.