A few posts back, I talked about change and how one of the most common barriers to change is feeling like we don’t have enough time. Today I want to talk about another barrier to change, one that tends to be looming, seemingly present whenever we look to make a significant shift in our lives.
We’ve decided we want to make a change, we’re motivated, and we have a plan. We’re hungry for change. We’re prepared. But then, fear creeps in. Doubt surfaces. We find flaws in our thought process; we realize our plan isn’t foolproof. We could struggle, we could get stuck; we could fail. Suddenly, the words tumble out, “I’m not ready.” And with that, we’re back where we started, longing for a change, but afraid as hell.
“I’m not ready.”
So many of us confuse being “ready” with being 100% ready, no doubt, no fear, no unknown. We think being “ready” means have a solid plan mapped out, with every twist and turn accounted for, with three detours and back up plans ready to go. We confuse being “ready” with being completely confident and boldly assured in our plan for change. We think “ready” means sure and certain.
And I’m here to be the bubble buster that tells you that kind of “ready” doesn’t exist.
Don’t get me wrong; being prepared and confident is important. Having a plan in place and exploring various options is vital. Critically thinking through consequences and “what ifs” is awesome. But those things are not the same as being 100% ready with no fear or doubt present. Somewhere along the way, we’ve confused the two. And it’s left us feeling paralyzed when it comes to change.
My advice? Forget “ready.” Embrace “ready enough.”
“Ready enough” values thought and preparation, but acknowledges lingering uncertainty. “Ready enough” calls for belief in your voice and vision, while also knowing that self-doubt will chime in. “Ready enough” has a plan, but knows a little bit of winging it is necessary. Fear and doubt are normal when making important decisions. It’s healthy to wonder, “Can I do this?” It’s human to want to perfect conditions for change, eliminating any change of failure or struggle. Yet, this kind of perfect and total readiness isn’t realistic.
I will disclose that out of all the barriers to change, this might be my kryptonite. Fear can do wonders when I’m looking to make a change, and changing the question from “Am I ready?” to “Am I ready enough?” has made a major difference. Suddenly, fear and doubt aren’t giant detour signs, and my plans for change aren’t derailed. Ready enough reminds me to think through things, evaluate my options, and then if things are still in play, proceed bravely.
If you’re looking to make a change, any kind of change, in your life, what’s holding you back? Is it fear and doubt? Are you waiting for 100% certainty and bold confidence? Are you waiting until you’re “ready?” If so, rethink ready, and embrace ready enough.
Love love love! A really important lesson for me. (Especially now as I struggle to finish a dissertation!) Some of my best life decisions have been made when I decided I was ready enough. (Having kids, for example…if I waited until I felt completely ready/sure it never would’ve happened!)