It’s easy to get started. You just have to get out of your own mind and start doing what you say you’re going to do. What isn’t so easy is to keep on keeping on.
After the initial burst of excitement has gone and after the first adrenaline rush has faded away, there’s nothing else to hold on to. There’s nothing else to rely on to keep pushing you forward until you reach your goal. That’s when the real test comes in. When you have nothing else but your own firm decision to relentlessly move forward, always forward, into the unknown.
For years, I have purchased every single personal development and success course I could afford. I consumed books, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube videos that teach you how to become whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. I was practically the poster girl for shiny object syndrome.
Every time I saw a shiny new program being advertised on my Facebook feed or being sent to my inbox, I’d bite the bullet and buy in. It was so easy for me to get sucked in by the exciting promises of success and happiness that some self-styled badass boss chick on the Internet offered me. I thought myself ambitious, but I was always consuming more and more information but never really taking action beyond the first few steps.
If you’re pretty hard-headed like me, it may take years before you realize that waiting doesn’t take you anywhere close to where you want to be. Waiting can take all forms. My brand of waiting was constantly listening to advice from the pros, believing that if I did what they told me to do then I’d be as successful as them.
The first time I enrolled in an online business program, I was in my mid-20s. Back then, my dad was still alive. Back then, I had someone to talk to about the inner workings of making a website show up on Google, what we’d do, and how we’d divide the work between us. Back then, we still plotted together the things we would do once we got filthy rich from the businesses we’d build together. He wanted to run on top of the Great Wall of China. I wanted to go scuba diving.
Well, my dad isn’t here anymore and here I am still doing the same things we had done together. Still buying courses about things I already know. Still trying to learn Internet marketing when I know every method works if you put your heart into it. Still plotting the things I would do once I get filthy rich from the businesses I’d build on my own. It’s been years since I first began dreaming but I am still no farther than a few steps from where I had begun years ago.
For sure, I have learned a few things along the way. I have learned to grieve—to dive into that very human emotion of irreversible loss. And I have learned that grief is a priceless gift. It taught me that our time on Earth is limited. It taught me that, whatever we came here to do, we have to start doing it now because you don’t know when your soul’s gonna say, “Okay, that’s it. Time’s up. Back to where you come from.”
And also, I have learned to distinguish between the fears we need to listen to and the fears we need to ignore. The fears we need to listen to are the ones from childhood. Those were the fears that have us crying ourselves to sleep some nights, thinking we aren’t worthy of any of the things our hearts want us to have—like a fulfilling career, a loving relationship with someone who meets all our standards, a sense of belonging with people who have the same drive and passion that sometimes border on mad and crazy.
The fears we need to ignore are those that come from outside. Like when the rest of the world keeps saying what you want isn’t possible. Like when everyone else just doesn’t seem to be hell-bent on doing what they came here to do as you are. Like when, for the nth time, you question yourself and wonder if you should go back to that soulless 9-to-5 job that you’ve been at for the last 13 years of your life. Ignore those fears. They are nothing more than echoes of the same fears that are running around in everyone else’s heads. They’re not yours and therefore not your responsibility to feel and release.
And lately? I’ve been learning the hard lesson of taking action and sticking to it. It took a while before I started to realize that it’s all been there hanging in the air in front of me. That’s how thick I can get, but finally, I get it. You can get started. You can get excited getting started. There’s little challenge in that. But afterwards, you have to learn to get excited to keep going.
Because whatever outcome you want to happen, you don’t know when it’s gonna happen. You don’t even know how it’s gonna happen. You can plot and plan and build the perfect strategy for years, but if you’re not gonna follow that plan, nothing’s gonna happen.
What’s more, you can plot and plan and build the perfect strategy for years, but once you start diving into the thick of things, you’ll find that all that plotting and planning and strategizing still isn’t any match for the real action that’s gonna take place. That is, if you’re bent on following your heart, not the straightforward path you thought you were gonna take. And if you read my posts, I know you choose to follow your heart.
But here’s the thing. No matter how messy things can get when you follow your heart, your heart knows where it’s going, and it’s taking you there. You don’t know because, mostly, you operate inside your head. But your heart does and it’s not gonna stop nagging you with that persistent little voice until you do what it tells you to do.
For example, it’s difficult for me to go a day without writing something from the heart. I can’t go a day without diving deep and asking my heart what it wants me to know. Most times, I’ve kept it to myself. Lately, I’ve been feeling an urge to share it with the world. Because I know my writing helps, in whatever vague, undefinable way it helps. I don’t know how it helps. I don’t know what’s gonna happen to the people who read it. But I know I have to, or else I won’t sleep peacefully tonight.
Have you ever had that urge? To do something simply because you want to. To do something because you think it’s fun and it’s gonna make your life richer, fuller, happier. To do something because if you don’t, you’re gonna hate yourself for a long, long time. To do something because you’re getting visions of a lousy life ahead if you didn’t do it now. To do something not because it’s gonna make you rich or cool or loved by the masses. But to do something because there’s a heartfelt urge to do it, even though you can’t exactly make out why you need to do it.
If you have, then go ahead and do it. Don’t wait years as I did. Don’t waste time trying to figure out ways to get your work seen or head. Get it out there now. The ones who need to see it will see it. The ones who need to hear it will hear it.
At first, you might not get a response. It doesn’t matter. The responses our hearts are looking for usually aren’t the ones we’re expecting anyway. Keep doing your thing anyway. Your heart’s not after the outcome anyway. When your soul decides it’s time to pack up and leave, you’ll be able to look back and say, “Perfect! I did exactly what I came here to do.”