There is this quote floating around the internet that says to do things before you are ready - that if you wait until you are ready that you will be waiting forever. It suggests jumping into action, pushing past the fears and grabbing hold of your dreams, which are all good things, unless you aren’t ready to do them.
Years ago, I’d bought my beautiful acoustic guitar and had started taking lessons. It was painstaking. I’d show up every week at the lesson and spend half of it with excuses about why I couldn't practice. Then I’d go home and feel guilty every night after spending the entire evening doing anything but picking up the guitar. I was telling myself that playing guitar was something I wanted, and it was, but I wasn’t ready for it. It didn’t fit into my life. I finally realized this and put it down for a bit.
A few weeks ago, I picked up my guitar again and it felt entirely different. I didn’t have any excuses for not playing - I just played because I wanted to. It felt like enjoyment instead of like a chore. That’s what it feels like to do something when we are ready.
When we force ourselves to do things before we are ready, it feels awful. It feels full of guilt and frustration. It’s expecting ourselves to be someone that we aren’t yet.
I believe deeply in pushing our limits and in growth, learning and expansion. I consistently expand my comfort zone and I love things that make me feel slightly uncomfortable. But, I don’t do things before I am ready (in truth, no one does.)
I’m not saying to never do anything that feels uncertain or uncomfortable. I’m not saying you should sit at home on your couch and not move until you feel absolutely ‘ready’. I am saying that it’s entirely okay and beneficial to respect where you are at right now - which might mean respecting that you aren’t quite ready to do that thing you want to do. If you were ready, you’d already be doing it instead of reading this post.
When we acknowledge that we aren’t ready then we can look at why we aren’t ready. It means that we can grow and develop in ways to make us ready in the future. This is so much more effective than just telling ourselves that we should be doing something that we aren’t doing.
For a long time, I felt like I should be ready to coach other people when I truly wasn’t ready. As soon as I got out of life coaching school two and half years ago, I was expecting myself to start my own business right away. All the conventional advice said, “get clients,” “practice,” “put yourself out there.” But the truth was, I wasn’t ready until I was ready.
That didn’t mean I didn’t take any action at all, but it meant taking action that was appropriate for where I was at. It meant baby steps, developing skills, and really putting into practice what I’d learned in school. It didn’t mean jumping head first into something that didn’t feel right. It was only after hours of personal development, working on my skills, and taking baby steps toward what I wanted, that I was ready. Then I began to feel inspired and pulled toward coaching instead of feeling it forced and pushed. It’s what I want to do, instead of something I have to do. That’s the place that we always want to be coming from - because it feels amazing.
So today I want you to know that it’s okay if today you aren’t ready yet. Take your time. Work on what you need to work on. When you are ready, you’ll know.
If you feel like you are ready, or you want to move closer toward being ready, check out my next How to Change workshop.