The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing – Walt Disney
I have always been a talker. I listen to my daughter, who barely stops to take a breath, and think, this is my payback. As I “mmhmmm” and “oh wow” and nod to get me by when I’m trying to pick up after work or message a new customer. It’s in our blood to chatter. My grandpa knew people everywhere he went. Or if he didn’t, you better believe by the time he left someplace he knew someone, well everyone! Most of the time, I love this friendly chattering side of me. BUT – one of the downfalls of being a talker is that it becomes really easy to talk about doing things without ever getting them done.
For years, I talked about going back to school to get my masters and work as a nurse practitioner. For years, I spoke to my closest friends and family about ending my crappy marriage. For years, I told myself (yes, I even talk to myself a lot) I would stop looking to the future for happiness and live right now. So many words. So little follow-through.
You know that coworker of yours who flits around frantically, busy, busy, busy, but never really gets anything accomplished? That was me in my own life. Working in a busy emergency department I was efficient and as proficient as they came. Once I got home though, I was that person we all step around rolling our eyes, thinking JUST DO SOMETHING. You see, I didn’t know what to do, or I didn’t want to know. My gut screamed HEY OVER HERE, I KNOW I KNOW! But my ego whispered, keep talking about it, you’re safer that way. So I talked, I stayed still, and nothing ever changed.
Perfection has always been my biggest downfall when it comes to inaction. I thought to move forward with anything, the circumstances had to be perfect. Or maybe this was just a mask to cover my fear of the scary possibilities. Either way, I perpetuated on things being “just right” before even considering taking action. I made lists of pros and cons or steps I would take. I sought out tools that could help along the way. I talked incessantly to friends and family to “poll the audience” before making a move. I even would take on any other stupid project I could find just to feel like I was too busy to undertake one more thing. You know, you’ve done it too.
The first time I acted on something big was when, on a whim, I applied for grad school. I did it because the deadline was so tight I didn’t think anything would come of it. And then it did. I was accepted for an accelerated program and the next thing I knew, I was spending the summer doing a statistics course so I could start in the fall. I didn’t have time for my ego to get under my skin.
The next time I had a life changing decision, the action came quicker. I had more confidence to do something. My ego was quieter, or maybe I told it to sit down and shut up. The marriage I had talked and talked (and talked) about ending was over. And surprisingly (to me at least), once I began doing instead of talking, life got easier. I breathed a little deeper and relief set in.
My business started without even a decision. There was fast action and barely any thought involved. Mostly because I didn’t even realize what was happening. It was literally all movement and reaction, and grew so quickly I didn’t have time to overanalyze, judge, or reconsider. Which I realize now was a good thing. My current relationship (the best I’ve ever had and the last I will ever have to contemplate) moved the same way. So now I ponder, are the best things in life the ones we don’t hesitate about? Are they the ones we just listen to our hearts and run with? I would argue yes.
It took some practice, as always, to get this right. I am still practicing. But I am learning. Listen to that place inside you. The place that tells you DO SOMETHING. All the talk in the world still adds up to the sum of nothing if you don’t MOVE. And think of what you could be gaining if you just jump.