Are you sitting on the sidelines, watching life happen around you? As we approach 2013, it’s a great time to evaluate what held you back from making a positive change this year. Maybe you started 2012 with high hopes of:
- Changing jobs
- Finding meaningful work
- Pursuing a new career
- Starting a business
But now you are sitting right where you were a year ago. Still unhappy in your job. Still waiting for the perfect opportunity to come your way.
I have found there are generally four reasons people stay on the bench, instead of going out there and making something happen:
- Fear of failure. Your dreams and ideas feel safe inside your head, but as soon as you actually try to do them – well, then it becomes possible to fail. Leaders, including fellow blogger Matt McWilliams, talk about the concept of failing forward. In other words, your failures are valuable because they put you ahead of where you were. You now have knowledge and experience you didn’t have before.
- Waiting for circumstances to improve. It’s easy to put off your dreams until some vague point in the future – when the economy will be better, or when the kids are older, or when you’ll have more free time. The truth is there is never going to be a perfect time. Very successful companies were started during the Great Depression (Texas Instruments & HP), and many others shut-down during good times. The best time is today. Right now. Mostly because it is the only time you are guaranteed to have.
- What others will think. When you start to dream, it makes you weird. It isn’t normal to to chase down an idea. It makes you vulnerable to criticism. The most productive thing you can do may be to shut out those voices that say it won’t work – if you are convinced it will. This isn’t the same as getting wise counsel. You should definitely do that. However, you need to discern if the advice you get is rooted in negativity, or is wisdom.
- Garden variety excuses. I’m too old. I’m too young. I don’t have the right degree. I’m a veteran. No one is hiring right now. There are no opportunities. Are you guilty of saying any of these? Don’t focus on the things you can’t control – instead look for ways to leverage them into strengths. If you know people that haven’t been able to find work for a year, then what you really know is that they haven’t been able to find work. It doesn’t mean you can’t.
So, what’s the solution?
Do ONE thing TODAY to move you closer to your goal. Some examples:
- Schedule lunch with someone you trust for their advice.
- Schedule some time to get away and think.
- Set a timeline with milestones along the way.
- Read a book related to what you are trying to do.
Your list will be different, but hopefully these get you started.
What are you planning on doing differently in 2013? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below!