If you are looking to leave your old career behind, reinvent your life, and begin your Encore journey, there are only two things you need to get started: clarity and courage.
The formula is simple, so why then do many people feel “stuck” and unable to create momentum towards their new vision? Why do we stay in the cycle of indecision and inaction for months, years, and sometimes decades? Why are we not using our unique gifts and talents to contribute to the world in a way that lights us up and brings us fulfillment?
After working with clients in 7 countries, I can tell you one of the leading causes of stagnation is a false belief that clarity precedes courage.
We tell ourselves we will start a new career when the timing is “right.” We think we need more time to develop the “perfect” plan. If we just read one more motivational book, attend one more seminar, go to one more yoga class, or watch one more episode of Oprah, we will have the “a-ha moment.” The perfect plan will fall from the sky and reveal itself. We want to be certain everything will work out exactly the way we want, on our exact timeline, with zero chance of failure.
But that’s not the way the Universe works, now is it?
The truth is, nothing worthwhile has ever been created in the world with a known attachment to the outcome. The Wright Brothers crashed many flying machines before they achieved manned flight. Thomas Edison had over 1000 failed attempts at creating the lightbulb. A quick google search will help you find the terrible first drafts to some of the most iconic movie scripts ever written.
If you are serious about closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be in your life, courage must come before clarity. You must be willing to take courageous action and trust that the plan will come into focus over time.
A recent client of mine demonstrates this concept perfectly.
Kelly was a stay-at-home mom with a lifelong dream to be a television host on QVC. The challenge? She had zero prior experience. She had no agent and no contacts in the entertainment industry. She had no audition reel to send in, and the most recent job on her resume was as a group fitness instructor.
Most people would wait until everything was “perfect” to get started, but my client and I made a pact to take courageous, imperfect action. Rather than wait to save money for the $300 luxury salon haircut and color, she went to Supercuts and got a $14 haircut. Instead of waiting to buy the designer clothes at Nordstrom for her headshots, she went to Target and bought a cute, affordable outfit from the sale rack. With no contacts in TV to tape a professional audition reel, she created an MP3 of her “selling” her favorite products.
She got everything together and clicked the submission link on the website…Then found out she had missed the deadline to submit her materials. Her heart sank. Did she wait too long and let her dream pass her by? Was she stupid for even wanting to pursue this in the first place? Most people would have used this as an excuse to give up and say things “never work out” for them. Yet, a little voice in her head told her she should send her materials to the casting director’s email anyway. Within seconds of pressing send, the automatic reply message came back saying the deadline had been extended to February 1st. Truth: It’s not your place to worry about HOW to get something done. When you show up with courage for yourself and your dreams, life has a way of showing up and giving you clarity.
In this case, time literally expanded to account for her dream. Within two days, the casting agent called her back. Despite having what I’m sure was the least “professional” audition package of the applicants, he was intrigued by her story and her energy. He set up a time to walk her through a video audition on Skype, answering her questions and teaching her basics of what she needed to do as an on-camera host… because when we act with courage, clarity will always follow. A mere 11 weeks after we began working together, the stay-at-home mom with big dreams and no TV experience was asked to drive to New York City and audition in front of QVC executives. She crushed it! She was personable, she was real, she made the room laugh. She left feeling on top of the world. The casting decision is still pending, so she’s playing the waiting game. But on some level, the outcome is irrelevant… because her courage has helped her find clarity. She knows her dreams aren’t crazy. She knows her family and friends won’t judge her for trying something big. In fact, she was supported by everyone in her life.
Perhaps most importantly, she has clarity she really can be a TV host. Regardless whether she gets this particular job, she has cultivated the confidence to keep putting herself out there and taking more perfectly imperfect action.
Now over to you!
Where in your life have you been placing clarity before courage? What courageous action could you take right now to put you closer to your Encore goals?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. I will personally respond to each email!
Dan Mason is a personal coach, motivational speaker and Huffington Post Blogger. He has conducted workshops and webinars on a variety of personal growth topics. He can be reached by e-mail or at his website http://www.creativesoulcoaching.net/