I encourage you to take small steps to plan for a great 2016. With a proper plan and small steps, you have a better shot at real change. This year could be the year you stop over thinking, stop procrastinating, and start keeping your word to yourself.
But planning also has pitfalls that can work against you. Like when you plan down to the minute, leaving no room for error. Or when you wait for the perfect moment while hiding from all the rest. You become your own worst enemy because in your head you might know the perfect plan (or book or partner) doesn’t exist, but you still don’t write your post or have that tough conversation, all the while saying, “There’s gotta be a better time.”
The quest for better, however, stops artists and writers in their tracks, and it’s a demon for business owners. I’ve spent too many nights worrying whether I should commit to an opportunity or wait for it to “feel right.”
Waiting just wastes time. And it overlooks the moments you actually do have to take action.
Imagine: You’re at a meeting. Your boss asks about the new marketing strategy. You just happened to be thinking “It sucks! It should be waaay more human to reach the right people.” You sit there, nervous. You don’t speak. Thoughts race through your mind: “Maybe now isn’t the right moment. Maybe I’ll tell him later. What if I’m wrong?” Adrenaline running, body primed, but you stop. Jason says, “That strategy sucks. It’s not human enough to reach the right people.” Your boss nods, your team beams. That Jason – smart AND gutsy. You want to kill him. Every part of you feels hot, angry, frustrated. Stupid. You’ll never do that again.
Waiting for the perfect moment can be incredibly frustrating and leaves you feeling terrible 99% of the time.
Why? Because your soul doesn’t just root for you in perfect moments, it roots for you in every moment. It wants you to get uncomfortable and take the risk every single time. So when you go against it, that anger and frustration isn’t you, it’s your soul. You’ve crossed it, and waiting for a better time irritates it more. The way to course correct is to take action, right now. Even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it feels like the right moment is later, even if you’re scared. If you wait till it feels good to do so, you’ll be waiting a long.
You know the phrase “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I actually love this phrase. If I waited only for gigs with 5,000+ people or wrote only when I thought my posts were excellent, I would literally do nothing all day. I’ve learned to embrace the small opportunities that have led to great moments, but have also had many moments where I questioned or hesitated. But I needed those moments to now know this: Every time I speak or write or help a client, it adds to my skills and my experience. This is how I make myself excellent. If I sat around instead of actively creating my opportunities, my life would look 1000% different than it does.
I remember being caught off guard at a networking event when everyone had to get up in front of the room (fifty people) and recite their elevator pitch. Even though I’ve done it on stage, I screwed it up and stumbled over my words. Overall I pulled it off because I can turn up the charm when I’m scared (odd but true) but I was embarrassed. Still am. It reminded me I need to take each and every chance I get to practice so I can ultimately shine as brilliantly as I want to. I can’t just wait around for perfect stages and venues. Every single moment counts, especially the ones I don’t take.
The truth is, the fear never goes away. Successful people know it. The bigger and better you are, the more fear you have to manage, because now you have a reputation to maintain. You’ve set a bar. Even still, no matter how ridiculous you feel or how many eyes are on you, you have to seize the moment that’s in front of you.
Making that choice – to seize individual moments – builds the bridge to your perfect opportunity.
Do local plays till you make it to Broadway. Write sh*tty first drafts all the way to the bestseller. Get a media coach even when you speak to a room of fifteen. Giving 100% here is when you’ll start to see magic in your life happen.
Successful people don’t stop when their agent doesn’t show them the right script – they know that waiting for the Holy Grail is futile, unless it’s coupled with enthusiasm for all the less than stellar moments. They know excellence comes often when the stars don’t align.
If the universe sends a few thousand moments your way, and you resist each one because you don’t feel ready or the opportunities themselves aren’t perfect, you basically say, Thanks so much universe, but I’m not interested. You think you’re smarter than the universe which (having played it many times) is a losing game. The amount you need to learn before your perfect moment is terrifying. It feels like the more successful I become, the more I see (and am scared of) how much I have yet to learn. Skipping the small moments robs you of those precious chances.
You CREATE your big opportunity not by skipping small ones, but by piggybacking off the moments that came before it. That’s where you hone your chops and learn your capacity. That’s where you develop hustle and resilience. You learn how to keep your faith. So that when the perfect moment finally arrives, you seize it and shine like you were always meant to.
To your hundred thousand moments taken.
Ishita Gupta is an entrepreneur, speaker, and business breakthrough strategist. Building her business from zero to multiple six-figures in one year, Ishita helps entrepreneurs get the confidence they need to run their businesses like a Pro. Her programs help business owners lay foundations to make money, create systems to increase productivity, sell with confidence, and do high-impact marketing that gets results. Ishita speaks at conferences around the U.S. on entrepreneurship and leadership, including World Domination Summit, TEDx Detroit, Columbia University, and more. You can also follow Ishita on Twitter.
Featured image courtesy of Juan Salmoral.