Chasing dreams is scary work. Really scary. There are a number of reasons why we engage in the self- defeating behavior of analysis paralysis. We make excuses that we cannot move forward because we’re not educated enough or we have more research to do or the time just isn’t right. We like to use our circumstances as an excuse and declare that our situation is unique and no one else, ever, has had to overcome similar obstacles. The thing is, we are all unique people so therefore every circumstance for every person on this planet must be unique. Now you see why analysis paralysis is nothing but an imaginary boundary that we lock ourselves into. It keeps us from moving forward but gives the safety net of protecting from falling. Failure. And that feels good. No one wants to fail.
To break free from that cycle and propel your dream chasing journey forward, there are three steps you can take.
1. Set a firm end date
If you truly must do more research or take another class or get that certification in order to do the work of your dreams, then set a firm end date for it. Determine how much time you’ll need and then mark it on your calendar so that when the day comes, you’re ready to go. The mistake I made was that I spent years, literally, doing research, reading books and blogs, taking courses, obtaining impressive credentials, before I actually sat down and wrote. It’s kind of hard to be a writer when you don’t write. It was the fear of failure that kept me stuck. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s a waste of time.
2. Take one step every day
One of the best questions I ask myself and my clients is “what is one step that you can take today get closer to your goals?” The reason is to keep your focus on your goal, keep it fresh in your mind and to keep momentum going. It’s easy to stop taking action on the small tasks as you do your research but it doesn’t change the fact that those things still need to get done. While taking a writing course, for example, you can do any related side work that can be done to get ahead of the game. If you want to be a writer, start a writing routine. Get a domain name to start a blog. Look for hosting services. Search for someone who can set it up if you are not technically savvy. Find freelance opportunities- there are a ton of things that can be accomplished that will give you momentum.
3. Redefine the word “failure”
Because in all likelihood, it is the fear of failure that is keeping you stalled. But failure isn’t really the bad word that we’ve been conditioned to believe. If you try something and it doesn’t work, you’ve gained knowledge as to what you did and why it didn’t work. You can tweak your approach from there. Or you may have realized that you were pursuing something that you came to realize is not what you truly want. Or maybe you learned that doing things a certain way will not yield the result you are looking for. There is an opportunity to learn in every one of these situations. The fact is- you cannot learn it unless you take action and go for it.
4. Know that the stars will not align. Ever
Waiting for the perfect time to start is, quite honestly, the biggest waste of time you can engage in. Today is the best time to start. Right now. You are smart enough, talented enough, brave enough, courageous enough and you have enough life experience and insight to help/move/affect at least one person in this extremely large world. Right here, right now. There will always be obstacles and challenges, no matter what. That is why this very moment is the best time to start.
I once read something a former Navy Seal wrote. He said that in the military, it doesn’t matter which direction you move when under mortar attack, just as long as you move. I’d say the same applies in dream chasing. You cannot find clarity or achieve goals if you remain stagnant and stuck. So take action, any action, to put yourself in motion. Get disciplined in setting timelines so that you are ready to hit the ground running. Don’t worry much about failures- they will come. Count on it. Learn from them and use them for your betterment because inside each one is a gem of knowledge and opportunity waiting to be plucked. The mortar attack has started- which way will you move?