By Dawn Shuler
One of the things I’ve figured out about myself is that I am all about action. Back when I was a new business owner working with other business owners, the moment they said, “I want to do _____” – Boom! Off I’d go and make it happen. Sometimes, they were shocked; other times, they would go, “Um, I wasn’t really ready to do such and such. Take it back, please.”
Not only did I figure out that I’m about action, action, action… other people may say they want action, but when it comes down to it, they aren’t really willing to take action.
Case in point… I was talking to a prospective client who told me her (very real) tale of woe as an abused wife for twenty years. For years, she had been thinking of writing a book about her experience, but there were some situations with loved ones and friends who were in abusive situations that was bringing this project to the fore now.
“Dawn, I have to write this book.”
It had been an idea for years, but now, enough pain was surrounding her and telling that she needed to get her story and message out to help people… she was willing to take action.
Awesome! Action Dawn to the rescue!
It just so happened that I had a writing retreat coming up in a few weeks, and I knew it would be the ideal, safe, inspirational atmosphere for her to get started on her book. I let her know the details and that there was even an early bird discount available for the next couple of days. We talked about what the retreat would cover, that it would be in a supportive environment with the other retreat participants, and the pricing.
She said it sounded perfect, and she needed to check her finances and to make sure her ex-husband’s alimony payment showed up on time to take advantage of the discount… and she was excited to do this! We agreed to check in with each other on Monday and get her signed up.
Monday comes, and I do my due diligence (Dawn taking action!) to check in with her.
“Well, you know, I have bills to pay, and I owe the IRS, and there’s this other situation… I just can’t do it.”
Honestly, I was perplexed. She had a huge dream – to get her message out and help other women. I had given her the solution. She backed away.
Opportunity had landed in her lap, and she didn’t take advantage of it. Actually, she pushed it away.
Why would she do that?
It’s what I’ve seen before… Going after your Big Dream is scary. It requires work and effort. And then…. what if you fail?
The world might end!!!
No, we really don’t think the world will end, but we are so entwined with our Big Dreams that we can’t separate the fear from the purpose. Because if it fails… well, then we’ve failed somehow. We’re worthless.
All that might sound ridiculous reading this on a bright sunny day, but it’s deep in our lizard brains to never take any action that isn’t directly related to keeping us safe or for procreation.
Honestly, I have difficulty with nonaction. To me, there is being (and that means being self-aware) and doing. You want to be absolutely aware of what’s going on with you (being), and then move forward toward your bigger purpose (doing).
Sometimes I think of that as a character flaw… I should be more patient and more tolerant. But it goes against every fiber of my being to stay stuck in the mud. I’m about action, and I want to help people who are willing to take action.
Some action steps for you (of course I’m going to give you action steps!):
1. When you’re making a decision, are you making that decision out of fear or lack? If so, then it’s the wrong decision.
2. The only way to reach your dreams is to take a step. And then another.
3. If the ideal (or very close-to-ideal) opportunity just landed in your lap, dance a happy dance and say, “Yes!” If you don’t say yes, then figure out why not and what’s holding you back.