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May 5, 2017

The Habit that Stops us from Living our Dreams.

A post shared by Jessica (@jessicauys) on

We live in a world of “one day.”

One day I’ll get there. I’ll be that person, I’ll start that business, I’ll take up that challenge. I’ll do it, I promise. It’s just that now isn’t a good time.

“It’s not a good time to change jobs…just yet.”

“I’m not sure I’m ready to have a baby…right now.”

“I’d really like to…but I probably need to…first.”

Sound familiar?

I was recently taken by surprise when I found myself in this all too recognisable space. After several years in my new career, and believing I had conquered the best of my self-doubt, here I was. Again.

I was considering moving my practice from a face-to-face to fully online business. Everything about it felt right. The freedom, the growth, the expansiveness. Yes please! I’m ready.

Except that I wasn’t.

I found myself coming up with all sorts of reasons why now wasn’t a good time: my clients aren’t quite ready to embrace the changes; I need to get more value out of the office space I’ve already invested in; I don’t have an alternative workshop venue lined up.

I didn’t recognize my excuses for what they were. They felt like real and perfectly practical reasons to defer a dream. After all, I wasn’t canceling the plans—I was just putting them on hold. Well done, Jessica. How very responsible.

The “not now” list continued to grow. And then it took an interesting turn. To make sure I found a reason that would undoubtedly prevent me taking the leap, I took myself to the place that hurts most. I went after my own sense of worthiness, pulling the trigger on my own self as the enemy.

I found myself believing that it was really me who wasn’t ready. Despite many years in practice, perhaps it was my own skills that weren’t strong enough, my own experience not deep enough. Suddenly I had whole-headedly convinced myself that what I really needed was another qualification before the time would be right. That’s it! Another course and yet more certifications before now would be the perfect time. Ah. Relief. That buys me another year or so, doesn’t it?

That’s when I got curious. Am I truly not good enough? What else might be going on here?

We all do it, don’t we? Our minds are occupied with inspiring dreams of the lives we yearn to live: wild locations to be explored; ideas to be birthed; challenges to be embraced. We satisfy our cravings with post-it notes and Pinterest—and yet nothing really changes. Because now is not the right time.

We justify the putting off of our dreams because we think we’re not ready. Almost ready. But not quite. So we defer and we avoid. We make lists and we perfect. Because now isn’t a good time.

If we allow ourselves to get curious about this, we can admit what’s really going on: we’re avoiding change.

We’re allowing fear to get the better of us. We’re sabotaging our own dreams. We’re trying to hang on to a sense of control. We’re trying to stay in the safe zone.

Here’s the thing:

None us will ever feel 100 percent ready for any kind of massive change. Ever. Nobody ever wakes up and thinks: “Yes, today I am so mature and incredibly responsible and more than ready to have my entire foundation shaken to the core.”

There is not a single soul on this planet who has graduated past self-doubt to the extent that they can know with confident certainty that the timing is just perfect and it could never be any other way.

We’re all winging it.

We’re all looking at our dreams and desires and doing what we can to make them happen. And yet, we’re all also at the mercy of other factors which aren’t often in our control. The dream job arrives, but it’s a couple of months earlier than planned. The pregnancy test is positive, but it’s a little earlier than expected. The project lead lands on your doorstep, but it’s a little sooner than we’d prepared for.

This is the nature of things. This is how life unfolds. Maybe we just need to know this and accept this and work with this. Maybe we need to realise that once we put the balls in motion, once we express our desire to the universe, timing doesn’t really factor into it.

I might have deferred my own dream a lot longer had the universe not conspired to help me out. My beautiful (and safe) office space was sold. I had expressed my wishes, and they were met. And still, I was terrified. I imagined my business falling apart. I felt the insecurity and anxiety that comes with massive change. And when I was able to breathe into it and see it for what it was, I realized that there I was, looking at now, being forced to make it the perfect time.

I learned that we don’t get to say: “This is what I want, but it has to be June 12th.” That’s just our desire for control. That’s just our fear wanting to secure a bit of stability and order in a situation that makes us feel unsafe. Because change, by its nature, is uncertain. It’s never predictable and it always involves an element of risk.

Whilst my lesson came later, it helped me embrace the change I had asked for and practice the art of surrender. Next time, I hope to do things a little differently.

Here’s what I suggest for welcoming change before we feel ready:

  1. Get clear on what it is you really, really want: A lot of us are a bit fuzzy in this area, and then we’re surprised when our needs aren’t met. It’s difficult for anything to work out, in any way—form or timing—when we aren’t even sure what we’re looking for.
    ~
  2. Put out your request to the universe: Too often I’ve held back on my own dreams and desires because I’ve been a bit shy about having them in the first place. Yet, in order for us to receive support, we have to first own what we want and this includes boldly sharing our visions with the world.
    ~
  3. Take action to make it happen: I don’t believe in just sitting around and waiting for something to happen. Yes, I believe in the power of prayer and miracles, but I also believe that we get to play a more active role in our lives. Taking action can be a tiny first step. But it shows intent and creates movement.
    ~
  4. Then hand over the details: This is about learning to surrender. We’ve done what we can; we’ve shown commitment and forward motion. And now we practice handing over the rest.
    ~

We have to allow ourselves to be open to trusting. We have to differentiate between when we choose and when we allow. Between where we show action and where we practice patience. Between showing up. And then letting go.

If we can get our heads around the fact that we will never feel like now is the perfect time, we can relax into the areas of our life where we can make a difference, and where we do have influence. And trust that maybe the universe has a better handle on the details than we do.

~

Author: Jessica Uys
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

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