Popular advice today is “just do it” or “get over your fears and do it anyway.” There is definitely wisdom in that, but then why aren’t people aren’t doing it, whatever “it” is?
If you could do “it” you would. To have someone tell you to do it anyway isn’t really of much value. You could’ve figured that out yourself. More importantly, it goes back to being ready. See my previous post on the Readiness Key. First you must be ready.
Even when we are ready, we may not be ready to take the big leap, the big stretch. There are degrees of readiness.
Don’t Start Cold
We’ve been taught to push ourselves, stretch, get out of our comfort zone. I agree with all of that – to a point and depending on the circumstance. Many of us are or think we should be Type A, over-achievers. Get it all done now. No crying, suck it up. Get on with it. Sometimes that is what we need to do, but most of the time, it really isn’t. Athletes warm up so they don’t over-stretch their muscles. They don’t just start the race cold. More damage can be done by over-stretching.
Why do we think in the self-help world we can make the big leap or stretch too far practically overnight?
Oftentimes we can only stretch so far. You know what happens to a rubber band when you stretch it too far? Exactly, it snaps.
Do the Warm Up First
To avoid the snap, take it slow. Give yourself a warm up. If you want to start public speaking, but are afraid, don’t go full on right away. You’ll get better results when you’ve worked through the fear. If you’ve had a setback of any sort, get in the slow lane. Don’t try to get in the fast lane immediately. That’s why we have the “slow lane” i.e. the right lane on the highway, to merge into the flow of the faster lanes. If you’ve been de-motivated to tackle or finish a project don’t try to do it all in a day or two. If it’s waited this long, it can wait for you to take it slowly. Something is causing you to not finish it. Figure that out first. It will be there when you’re ready.
Just like athletes prepare or injured people do rehab, don’t start the task, project, program etc until you are mentally prepared and ready to let yourself off the hook for what you can’t do yet. Take baby steps, do the warm-up. It’s ok, really it is. Over-stretching our psyche, just like our muscles, can cause us to snap.
Half-Hearted is not Better than Nothing
I’m sure we’ve all had an experience where we did something before we were really ready. Many different reactions may occur such as increased anxiety. If you thought you didn’t have anxiety, when you over-stretch, now you might times ten. Do what you can do, nothing more. And what you can’t do, don’t beat yourself up over it because beating ourselves up is another common reaction that leads nowhere. For all you over-achievers out there, and the rest of us, if you can’t do one more thing, don’t. Just don’t. It’s ok, really, your life won’t end, I promise. And you won’t be a failure, so take that off the table. Half-way and half-hearted attempts can lead to de-motivation and fear and could cause you to give up completely. That can also lead to more self-judgement.
You’ll get to run that race, finish that project, but if you aren’t in shape for it, whether mentally or emotionally, more than likely you won’t get the outcome you desire.
When I was a teenager, I broke my leg. It was a long time ago before the physical fitness world was more educated, so I wasn’t given rehab when it was time to remove the cast. They basically said, “Ok, see you later, good luck!” Guess what the outcome was? A lot of pain in the short term and indirect issues in the long term. Even though I was a healthy teenager, I wasn’t ready to be sent into the world with no rehab. We didn’t know that back then so having no other options, I just soldiered on. Lack of physical preparedness resulted in a less than desirable outcome in the long term, an injury that still affects me to this day.
One Small Step for You
Now, thankfully the physical fitness world knows about rehab as an interim step. The self-help world is also learning that we need baby steps. When you’re ready, you’re ready, but just how ready is the better question? What exactly are you ready for? Avoid over-stretching to get what you desire. You know the saying – slow and steady wins the race. Not over-stretching.
What’s one small step you can take towards whatever it is you want to do? One.Small.Step. That’s all.