I remember the first thought I had before deciding I wanted to study abroad for a semester:
Maybe I should wait until I’m ready.
In retrospect (my fancy way of saying “I’m wiser now, so here’s what Wiser Me says”), I realize that if you’d asked me back then when I’d be ready, I wouldn’t even know how to answer.
Maybe “ready” meant when I had more experience living by myself (because I always did joke I grew up as a princess).
Maybe it meant training myself to be more sociable (because heaven knows my inner self died at the thought of awkward social interactions), or more Spanish-speaking (because what other language can you speak if you plan on living in Spain) or even just plain better at directions (but that’s why we have Google Maps).
Maybe you’ve been dying to make YouTube videos all about your love for puppies. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start taking dance classes (go ahead, I highly recommend it). Whatever it is, you might have run into the ever-elusive inner demon called self-doubt. We’ve heard it all before, mostly even from ourselves.
“You’re not good enough yet.” “Maybe it won’t really work out.” And my personal favorite: “I’ll wait until I’m ready.”
My favorite quote on this topic comes from Lemony Snicket:
If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.
Sometimes doubt overpowers your motivation to do the thing that would make you feel more fulfilled, feel happier. Doubt makes you wonder whether it’s worth it to pursue your passion or whatever else brings meaning to your life.
But we can’t just not try, right? So go do the thing, regardless of you being ready or not.
I knew that to pursue your passion was better than a life full of “if only”s
As a twenty-year-old who had a past full of these childhood passion-hunting lessons – from ballet to piano to art to voice, you name it, I probably took it – one of my biggest regrets until now is quitting all those things too soon. I know you’d say that it was justifiable; I was a kid, after all.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I look back at these lessons and think, “If only I’d kept them up. Where would I be now if only I did?”
“If only.” It’s such a telling phrase about the things we wished we did while we had the opportunity or time or energy.
My greatest fear is, one day, my grandchildren ask me the cool stories about my life and I would have nothing to tell them that I was proud of. I know that I had a lot of stories to share, but I want to be able to tell them about the cool things that I myself chose to do. “Yes, Grandma totally went sky-diving.” “You can bet Grandma traveled the world in 80 days, just like in the movie!”
A lot of opportunities are going to pass us by, and sometimes we have all the power in the world to say yes to these things. Doing the thing – whatever the thing is – and then failing at it is so much better to live with than a life full of “if only”s.
The process is probably going to be better than the end result anyway
We often think we’ll be happier when we finally reach the destination. It’s what makes chasing a goal so appealing – the ending.
But what happens when we find out the end isn’t as appealing as the process. I remember saving money to get myself a new phone for my 18th birthday. When I actually got the phone, it wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be.
Take it from me: I love buying things. Shopper’s high is a real thing in my world, and I honestly thought the moment I held that new phone in my hands after months of saving was going to make me ten times happier than when I usually experience cash-register happiness.
Instead, looking back, it was the process of saving that was more fulfilling to me. I loved tracking how much I already had saved and how I could save more in less time. And I know other people who feel the same way.
We enjoy more how we’re learning and growing. And you’d be missing out if you don’t pursue your passion sooner.
Besides, there is no such thing as really ready
You’re never going to be “ready.” What’s our basis for “ready” anyway?
In my case, how would I know if I’d had enough independent-living experience? How do I begin to measure my improved sociability? How do I know if my sense of direction is better? (Admittedly, the Spanish-speaking thing was definitely measurable, but trust me, I did the thing, i.e. study abroad for a semester, even without learning Spanish.)
If you want to start a blog or a freelance writing career – if you really, really want to pursue your passion for writing – when are you ever going to be “a good enough writer?” If you want to start your YouTube channel, what’s that “lightning bolt moment” that’ll make you say “Hey, I’m ready!”?
From my experience, nothing. Thinking if we’re ready, if anything, makes us believe we aren’t ready at all.
So I hope the lesson is clear: just do the thing.
No more thinking about being ready to chase whatever it is you want to do. Like Nike brilliantly puts it: Just Do It.
I know what it’s like to want to pursue your passion and even make a living out of it, but for anyone who thinks they aren’t ready to drop everything and just go for it, I suggest a different approach.
Instead of dropping out of college or ditching your 9-5 cold-turkey, try and start earning money from your passion on the side. In other words? Start a side hustle!
Not only does it provide a separate income stream for you, the fact that you’re earning through your passion means you can pursue something purposeful every day – who knows, you might even unlock a huge opportunity to start a real creative biz in the future!
If starting a profitable side hustle sounds like your thing, go enroll in my free 5-step course The Passion to Profit Challenge. In it, you’ll get actionable lessons, bite-sized tips and tricks, and free fillable worksheets (because no one has time to print things nowadays).
Leave me a comment:
What’s stopping you from taking steps to pursue your passion?
Mica is the face behind everything you see at her blog, Mind of Mica. She champions the goal-getters, the dream-chasers, and the unapologetic hustlers who are out to make a difference – even if it’s in their own lives.