Because I’m so incredibly interested in hearing about the dreams that burn inside others, I often find myself giving encouragement and advice to people who have a dream but no plan. I get much joy out of helping others brainstorm, and then watching them light up as they realize the possibility of bringing these dreams to fruition. But, I have found too often when I cross paths with that same person a few months later, absolutely no action has been taken. Man, I just want to shake that person and say, “But, we made a plan! Remember? You were excited! You had a first step! WHY didn’t you take action?”
Even though I don’t actually physically shake anyone, sometimes I do confront them with those questions. Their answers are usually just a series of excuses. “Oh, you know, I’ve just been too busy.” Or, “Shoot, I just don’t have the money right now.” Or, “Ummm, I’m scared.” (This last one is also the translation of “I don’t know.”) Do any of these statements hit home with you? Let’s talk about each one:
“I have just been too busy.” Friends, if you are too busy to take the steps to achieve your goal, then you are not ready, or you simply do not want it bad enough. When you have a real fire in your heart for something, there is nothing that can stand in your way. You will stay up later, and you will wake up earlier. You will cut out an hour of social media scrolling. You will cut out your three Starbucks trip for the week and instead hire a babysitter for a couple hours to devote time to your goal. If you are truly passionate to make something happen, you will rearrange, sacrifice, beg, borrow, and steal to get it going. (Alright, don’t really steal anything, unless of course you are stealing time.) I say it all the time – you make time for what you want to make time for. If you are not ready, that’s OK! But, own it. Don’t make excuses.
“I don’t have the money right now.” I get it. Financial stress is tough. Your primary financial responsibilities are most likely putting food on the table every night and keeping a roof over your head. Sometimes it’s hard to see how you are even going to meet those most basic needs from one month to another. Chances are, however, whatever goal you are working toward has a “first step” that barely costs a thing. Can you create a business page on social media? Can you set up a couple meetings with mentors that are doing what you want to do? Can you come up with $15 and find a Staples promo code and print some business cards? Read a freakin’ book? There is something that you can do that you can also afford, trust me. Also, remember that your financial situation is not going to change one bit if you don’t make a move towards something new, and potentially better. If you want to experience change, then make a change.
“I’m scared.” If you are truly honest with yourself, fear is likely the root cause of all your other excuses for not executing. Force yourself to figure out what it is that are you actually afraid of happening. Is it facing the criticism of others? Is it fear of failure? Going completely broke? Write out every single thing you are scared of related to taking the first step to achieve your goal. Then, write out what the consequences of each of those things actually happening. What really happens if people make fun of you, or if you fail miserably? Look over that list and have a “come to Jesus” talk with yourself. Are you truly unable to handle these consequences? If someone chooses to laugh at you, is their opinion really of value to you anyway? If you fail, will your heart still be beating when it’s all said and done? Will you lose the love of your friends and family if you bomb this endeavor? Chances are, when you sit down and weigh the consequences, you are probably blowing things way out of proportion. You are a strong person and you can handle much more than you are giving yourself credit. Confront your fears, and then kick them out of your way.
Martin Luther King, Jr. has a famous quote that rings true for every dreamer, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” If you can pinpoint virtually any first step that brings you closer to the goal you want to accomplish, then it is time to become a person of action.
You’ve envisioned it. You’ve wished for it. You’ve talked about it. You’ve planned for it. Now, act on it.