Perfect Timing: 5 Signs You’re Not Ready For What You Want
“They say, timing is everything. But then they say, there is never a perfect time for anything.”
― Anthony Liccione
I first felt it on New Years' 2018.
This enormous psychological relief came out of nowhere as I was cooking a celebratory dinner. A deep awakening, a realization that I wasn’t going to get pregnant just because I planned my life around being pregnant.
We hear life gurus tell us that we should live as if we already have what we want, so I did. I postponed trips, I didn’t take on big work projects and for three years all I was focused on was seeing a positive test.
And then, on New Year's eve, I was done. I could no longer live for something that didn’t exist. I’d continue to do my best to get pregnant — go to my doctor, take my vitamins, have sex with my husband (if I must).
But I’d also live my life.
Beginning of 2018 I landed my biggest copywriting client at the time and we booked a family road trip through Europe.
Beginning of April, I found out I was pregnant.
Ironically, it was right on time. Turned out I really wasn’t ready before.
I felt in a similar way in the summer of 2019.
I used to think that to be able to work on my novel, I have to stop taking on client work. Then a baby came and I realized I can’t not have a baby anymore. If I wanted to write, I’d have to find a way to squeeze both my baby and my writing into my days.
That was the summer I finished a novel that I had been working on for 10 years, and even though I scrapped it eventually, it reinforced a valuable lesson.
I hadn't been ready. Things just don’t work out when you’re not ready.
It’s happened again and again lately: little breakthroughs that change the way I think about things and soon get me results I never thought I could have before.
Here are a few signs that maybe you’re not ready, either. Hopefully, one of them will lead you to your personal breakthrough and propel you forward like nothing ever did.
You know you can do it alone.
You totally got this. In fact, even the thought of asking for help kind of irritates you. You don’t need someone to come here and mess up your beautiful act. You know what you’re doing, you have your own voice, your own agenda.
And you’re ready to rock and roll.
Only you aren’t. Here’s why. First of all, whatever you think it is that makes you so special is only your potential to be special. Yes, your combination of qualities and experiences do make you different, but if you want your message to be heard, you have to polish it again and again, and you can’t do it alone.
You’re biased, we all are.
You know how people often say that success came out of nowhere? Even here, on Medium, all the big writers will tell you they’d write an article and be sure it would be a total hit and it was a miss, and then they’d write something silly in a hurry, and it would completely outperform.
If that proves anything, it’s that you don’t know. Your gut feeling isn’t enough. Even if you have decades of experience doing what you do, your bias will prevent you from making the right decisions.
That’s why you need support.
If you have someone in your life who can support you, or can find a mentor, or can afford to hire a life coach, that’s awesome. If not, listen to podcasts, read books and blogs. You know who helped me realize I can write a novel while working with clients and raising a baby? Oprah. Yup. We’re like that.
Every failure kills you a little bit.
They should teach shoulder-shrugging in school. Did you fail that test? Oh, well, life goes on. You didn’t make the team? Don’t worry about it, there are better things coming.
We live in a culture where failure is not tolerated, not even with kids. It’s funny that it’s only after they’ve graduated Harvard or the likes that JK comes in and tells them how important failure is.
Here’s my favorite quote in the whole wide world:
“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
It’s as easy and as difficult as this: get hit and move forward.
First, get hit. You must. It’ll hurt, but you must. Put yourself in a position where you’ll get hit. It’s the only way.
Then get up, dust yourself off, and move on.
Repeat until successful.
You’re in a hurry.
Can we skip the part with the paying of the dues and just go to success, please? Who do I have to talk to about this?
We all want to be rock stars, but we don’t want to do the work. Or rather, we want to do the work only if there is some sort of a guarantee that we’ll become rock stars, preferably by this afternoon. I don’t have all day.
Here’s the deal: chances are you’ll never be insanely successful and that’s a great way to think about life.
I’m not saying this to crush your dreams, I’m saying it because the moment of achieving your dreams won’t make life easier. It only means more work.
You write one bestseller, your agent and your publisher want you to write more. You do one movie, people want more. Your business sells a lot? Let’s produce more.
More, more, more.
So if you’re not so happy to do your work that you barely even have the time to think about outcomes, then why do you need success anyway? It’ll only bring more of the same.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. It’ll also bring some money and other nice things, but that gets old pretty quickly. You spend the money and unless you do more of the work, that’s that.
So why do you hurry? Why can’t you just do the best you can and enjoy the process? Because when you do, that means you’re ready for more.
You blame it on circumstances.
I have two small children. A toddler and a baby. It is a jam-packed schedule, people.
You think you’re busy when you have a day job and try to make something on the side work? Hey, that’s difficult too, I’m not saying it isn’t. But you don’t know busy until you have kids.
That is a 24/7 job. Literally.
I’m trying to potty train the toddler so he goes around without a diaper, peeing all over the place, while the baby screams for no good reason. I have to cook dinner and clean up at least a little bit. Just some cleaning so that if it turns out that a friend we invite for dinner works for social services, they don’t take our children away. And don’t get me started on getting a good night's sleep.
Anyway, that is happening and I still manage to find some time to write.
I don’t always publish what I’m writing. To be honest, most of it is total crap.
But it’s a muscle, the ability to write. I know it’s not, but it is. You have to practice or it atrophies.
So, what’s your excuse for why you’re not doing more of what you should be doing to get what you want?
Or maybe you need to do less and relax a bit if you feel in your heart that’s the answer (as I did with the pregnancy thing).
Of course, we won’t always be in our best shape. Sure, circumstances will get to you. Life will get to you.
But it’s how you deal with life that matters.
Other people’s approval is more important than getting better.
To get better, you have to be okay with sucking for a while.
I moved back to my home town a few years ago and since then I’ve done more for my writing career than I ever did in the big city where I thought I’d mingle and opportunities will come.
When you haven’t done the work, even if opportunities do come, you’re not ready, so you mess things up.
Now, back home, I don’t feel the pressure to be this amazing writer who’s out and about just waiting for her chance to shine.
Because I’m not. I still suck. And it’s difficult to suck in a big city where everyone acts as if they have it all figured out.
So I’m here, writing my ass off, trying new things, failing miserably, and trying again, because I know it’s the only way to get better.
I’m not in a hurry, so it’s okay. It’ll happen.
Meanwhile, I do get to hear about friends who’ve done amazing things while I have nothing to show for my efforts.
You know what I do? I focus on them, not on me. It’s how being a sucky writer turns into being a better friend.
“It’s easy to complain about your life — how tough it is, how unfair it is, how stressful it is, how everyone else has it much better. But if you step into the life of someone you envy for just a day, you’ll discover that everyone has their own problems, and they’re usually worse than yours. Because your problems are designed specifically for you, with the specific purpose of helping you grow.”
― Kevin Hart, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons
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