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The Power Of Just Starting. No More Waiting!

December 13, 2018

No more hesitation

A few months ago I bought a family member an audio book on sort-of-motivation to encourage him in starting a new adventure. I bought it based solely on reviews after watching the author’s TedX talk. Well, he listened to the book, and I found more YouTube videos of her speeches. And we both got pretty hooked. You’ll see why if you keep reading. When he finished, he sent me the audio book and I have now finished it. And here I am recommending it to you. [When you find things you love, you share them. Like I share budgeting with YNAB.] Nice story, right?

The author of the “Traveling Book” is Mel Robbins who, seven years ago, was unemployed, unconfident, and in a generally serious life funk. Now, she is an author, millionaire times over, and tremendously popular speaker, on a mission to share the practice that changed her life*. Her secret to success and the name of her book is The 5 Second Rule. In this book, she encourages people to not cave to the hesitation that undermines ambitions and instincts to progress. A little blurb from her site will give you a better idea of her message.

“The moment you feel yourself hesitate (when you know you should do something) start counting backward 5-4-3-2-1, then GO. The Rule is a proven, form of metacognition. When you use it, you shift mental gears, interrupt your habit of overthinking and awaken your pre-frontal cortex – making change easy. The rule acts as a “starting ritual” that breaks bad habits and triggers positive new behavior change.”  ~Mel Robbins

The big question

She asks a lot of really great, pointed questions in her book. One of her oft-asked questions is “What are you waiting for to do ________?” You get to fill in the blank. Yay for fill-in-the-blanks!

I don’t know about you, but I have a laundry list of things that could fill in that blank. I have a product that would be perfect for QVC and every household, 2 app ideas, skills I want to learn, be more patient, books I want to write, places I want to travel, service I want to render, and additional businesses I want to start. That’s just to name a few! I’m sure you have tons of exciting things that could fill in that blank. Some might overlap with mine, but others are uniquely yours.

Basically, we all have cool stuff we want to do. The stuff that will help the society of which we are all part, and hopefully make a difference to individuals in it. Did you know Winston Churchill wrote prolifically in addition to being Prime Minister? He literally wrote dozens of volumes/books. And I think we can all imagine how much spare time he had! #noexcuses.

What are you waiting for?

Okay, back to the big stuff you have to do and why are you waiting? What are you waiting for? If you, like I sometimes feel I am, are waiting for a chalk message on the sidewalk telling you what you should do, or someone to get you to get your idea off the ground…not gonna happen.

One reason you might be waiting to start your things might be your money situation. But, isn’t it crazy how long you have let that be a showstopper? Like years? You are doubly waiting; waiting to start changing your money situation so that you can start the other big thing(s).

What are you waiting for financially? Are you waiting to get more money? Are you waiting for a new month or new year in order to start? Are you waiting for a reason to get your finances in order? Are you waiting for budgeting to not involve any thought or energy? I know I did all the above! But there are loads of people who had less than ideal circumstances (financial and otherwise) and still launched/did incredible things!

Regardless of what you have been waiting for, the good news is that you can start changing it today! Literally. You can saytodaythat you are going to do things differently and make actionable steps to make your finance and/or goals different. You can recognize the pointlessness of waiting for the world to beg you to chase your dream. Sometimes that would be really nice, but probably not going to happen.

Starting is scary

I think back to when I played indoor soccer for a glorious 3 weeks. The co-ed team was desperate for females which is why they invited the girl who had literally never played organized soccer. Standing on the sidelines, I was terrified. But once I was pulled in, my condition was downgraded from “terrified” to just “scared” and eventually “excited” because I was now doing.  

Mel Robbins talks a lot about just starting. Scared or not, send the email, make the phone call, sign up for the thing. These are tangible actions that commit us to a course of action and, regardless of the outcome, progression. You’ve ventured. You’ve dared. And yes, sometimes the part of you that craves security and comfort might regret it. But the part of you that knows you are here on earth to grow will be just pleased as punch.

“The world rewards those of us who are courageous enough to stop waiting and start.”  ~Mel Robbins

This is is the rationale behind some pretty gutsy emails I have sent in the past couple weeks and more actions that I will be making. As my finger hovers over the send button, my mind races with all the ideas why I shouldn’t send it, or why they won’t say yes, or why I’m not ready. But I haven’t regretted any of them! I haven’t received any big “yes” responses—yet—but I can tell you that it has felt new and empowering to just do.

Like runners at the start of a race, there is a moment when the gun goes off. And they start running. Too often we are like a runner who spends hours perfecting their position at the starting line but who never actually runs. Give yourself the starting signal and just go!

The solution is always found in action

Even the things that aren’t externally-reaching have some intrinsic reward after just starting. I have a problem that I’m sure no one else experiences, and that is being unsure of which of my projects to work on. This usually leads to a downward spiral of no motivation. In the Land of No Motivation, it’s easy to think the solution is to be found in the arrival of motivation. But nope!

The solution is always found in action. Pretty much any positive action will do! It’s like the action—whether it be relevant to the task list you’re avoiding or just calling a friend or doing some service—nudges us back to the purposeful path we are on. Inaction pulls us off the path and toward the sirens of self-doubt, laziness, and selfishness and the quickest way back to the path forward is action.

So, pal, what fills in the blank for you? What are the cool things you want to do? By cool, I mean rewarding, fruitful, difference-making, and the like. Definitely not talking about ease and self-gratification. What are you waiting for? And most importantly, what are you going to do—today—to start?

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*One of the things I like best about Mel’s story is not that she’s been so financially successful. I like that what is most important in her life is her 20+ year marriage and that her secret to success has helped her treat her husband better and become the best version of herself. And she genuinely seems to be sharing her message because she wants to help others do the same.