I thought to myself she was in a perfect position to start building the foundation for her long term goals from such a strong position!
But Sarah never joined. I wondered why, so I dropped her an email recently to ask how she was doing and why she didn't join. She told me she was quite happy at her current job and that she had just got married. She now wanted to focus on getting pregnant and starting a family.
Her big dreams could wait!
Oh, I wanted to scream.
Of course I was super happy for her. She was obviously very happy with her life. It's fantastic she's present in the moment and enjoys her life as it is. You must always be grateful for the lovely things you are experiencing right now!
The reason for my frustration was that now she had the best possible moment in her life to start 'an undercurrent', a little stream of ideas and knowledge of what might become her dream future. And she didn't take the opportunity. For the next couple of years she would burry her head into baby clothes and nappies when there really was no reason why she couldn't do both - work on her future and enjoy the journey with her baby.
I meet so many women at our LifeWorking groups who became frustrated after having kids and staying at home for couple of years or after being laid off. They don't want to go back to the corporate career and would like more freedom, but they have to take any job available because they have been pushed against the wall. They didn't start preparations early, they didn't create an undercurrent. There was zero exploration when they had the flexibility and the resources. And suddenly there is no more time.
Dreams don't happen because we start our journey when we'd already like to arrive at the destination.
I quit my corporate career exactly 8 years ago and I had twin boys straight after. Whilst I was home caring for my babies I didn't stop searching for what would become my next step, I kept actively looking for my passion. I spent 4.5 years reading books and blogs, searching the internet, interviewing people, making connections and learning new skills.
I had no idea what I wanted to do but my desire to find out carried me forward. Have I not spent those evenings searching, I would have never landed on the idea and the opportunity of starting DrivenWoman.
It is unrealistic to think you can start when you are ready. You only become ready by starting when you are not.
So what are the signs you have that fire? Why should you start searching when you don't know what you are looking for? Consider the following 5 reasons why you must start before you know what you want.
Start before desperation
It's best to start preparations for your next step, what ever it might be, when all is well. This might mean that you are in a full time job or on maternity leave. If you have a slight idea you might want something different in the future it's best start searching when the sea is calm. Ideas and new paths are created slowly. If you already in a need of a new income source it is too late to start a business, for instance, and you will end up taking up any job that comes along. Instead, learn how to start a successful side project while working full time.
Do you feel the flame?
If you have a burning desire to become your own master one day, if you dream about more freedom or want spend your days doing something you are truly passionate about, don't wait. Don't wait for the perfect life situation. Don't wait for the answers to come to you. Even if the flame is only small today, start your search now. Start your preparations and the flame will grow and with it your desire to grow into who you really are. This classic talk by Napoleon Hill explains how cultivating burning desire and enthusiasm leads to success.
Allow for twists and turns
To do what you love and make money from it is not an impossible dream to achieve. But it is an impossible dream to achieve overnight. Every road to new ideas and new concepts goes via disappointments, mistakes and wrong turns. They are not really set backs, rather learning disguised in a form of challenges. It is via those snugs your idea and passion will grow into its full strength, but this takes time. You have to let your passion and idea 'brew'. This is why you must start the journey before you want to arrive.
Let go of expectations
The reason people don't start is they have internal need to know what comes next. These people are more concentrated on situations and may miss opportunities. As the path looks unclear it feels easier and smarter not to start at all. 'One day I will know what to do', they might think. But the expectation of knowing is your worst enemy. Years will go past and the mystery is not discovered. You must yield to the unknown. A study shows that people who keep an open perspective are more prone to be lucky too. Create your own undercurrent and don't be afraid to let it take you forward.
Perfection is not the key to success
Perfection kills progress. Many people are so used to being right or being in a position where people around them expect them to have all the answers that it's difficult to admit you don't know what should happen next. It is no reflection on your self worth if you say you may want something else in the future but you don't know what it is. When you learn to deal with uncertainty, emotional risk and embrace vulnerablity you are ready to move to the next level of success.
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
If you are not prepared, you are likely to miss your greatest opportunities!