When I was young, my Dad used to say there are three types of people in this world; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say ‘what happened?’. Sometime around then, I decided that I wanted to be in the first group.
This philosophy has so far served me well and has resulted in me moving my family to live in France, learning to mountaineer and eventually climbing Mt Everest, studying my MBA part-time, numerous travel adventures, starting and later selling several businesses and many more highlights. I don’t say any of this to brag, but to emphasize that an attitude that emphasizes action can result in some amazing things happening.
Are you someone with big dreams? Someone who wants to travel, make a difference in the world, and live a big life? Awesome! So what are you doing about it? Waiting for the right time? Waiting to save enough money? Waiting for what?
Forget about finding your passion
If you’re waiting because you’re not sure which of your many passions to pursue, or alternatively, you haven’t yet found your passion, forget completely about finding your passion as a criteria. It’s great to get excited by things but I do not believe that we’re born to find one-true-passion. Instead, follow the things you’re interested in and see what happens. You can’t know if you’re passionate about living in Italy or learning to scuba dive until you commit and start living that life.
Who do you envy?
Bored with life but not sure which direction to take? Pay attention to who or what makes you envious. Do you feel a wave of jealousy when you hear someone has published their first novel or hiked the Andes? Does your friend’s news of pregnancy or achieving their karate black belt make you a tiny bit jealous? Are you secretly coveting a life running a cooking school or learning a new language? Take your envy as a cue and follow that scent!
Do something that commits you
Once you’ve got an inkling of something bigger you want to do… one day, bring the timeline forward and do something that actually forces you to commit. Don’t worry if you haven’t got everything ready, take the step that will make sure that you do all of those other things.
The best example of this is to book your flight. Open a new tab in your browser, find a suitable flight and click. Bam! You’re going now! Even if it’s a year in advance and you have heaps to do between now and then, that dream is becoming a reality.
Other examples could include booking a course, sending off an application, telling someone you need to talk, or announcing your goal to friend, family or on social media.
What’s the next step?
The first step needs to be something that commits you to the thing. But after that, you just have to keep working out what the next step is. Do you need to start training? Do you need to apply for time off work? Should you find accomodation? Do you need to get your house ready to rent out? Make a list of all the immediate things that need doing to move you closer, and then start ticking them off.
You’ll never know if you don’t try
Worried that it won’t work out, or that you’ll hate it, or suck at it? When we’re stretching ourselves, it’s normal to be nervous. But we can fight the urge to succumb to those doubts! What’s really the worst that can happen? In most cases, you just take a decision to revert back to the position you’re currently in. This happens a lot – to me as well. There are many things I’ve tried that haven’t become a permanent part of my life and that’s ok. They still add to the richness of life – and sometimes make for a good story!
So what are you waiting for?
I hope I’ve implored you to take action now. I’m convinced that it’s the people who take consistent action towards their goals that achieve great things (which is also the foundation of my next business – an action-taking tool for teams and individuals). There is never a right time and you will never feel ready. So if you keep waiting, you’ll end up like everyone else – with years and then decades slipping by with you barely noticing them. Each year the same as the last, and a pile of regrets and “should haves” at the end of your life.
Be a ‘doer’, not a ‘gunner’. Don’t just talk about your dreams, take action and make them happen! After all, it’s the people that take action that live the richest lives.