How to Start Doing What You've Been Putting Off Right Now
Exactly one year ago tomorrow, I went to Salem, Massachusetts with a friend to see a psychic named Lori Bruno. I'm really not big on knowing the future (I've got enough going on in my head today to deal with a year from now, thank you...) but I was intrigued by this psychic in particular because my friend had been raving about her ever since she did his last rather accurate reading. Lori was a rare soul. She was extremely sensitive, kind, caring and passionate, and it was no wonder she found herself using her intuitive skills to build the business of her dreams. Mid-way through my reading, she explained to me that she'd always wanted to run her own business and had been told countless times it was impossible, but there she was, telling the futures of countless individuals who walked through her door each day at the referral of someone whom she'd impressed with her unconventional skills.
Because of the radiant joy she embodied by living a life beyond her wildest imagination, she had a particular enthusiasm for anyone considering "jumping the ledge" and chasing their own biggest ambitions. She knew nothing about me when I sat down in her chair that day, but as I stared at her with wide eyes and sealed lips, she told me all about how she knew I was on the verge of really diving in and following my heart in full force, and that I absolutely had to keep going.
"Grab the brass ring and do it!" she repeated, over and over. "You hear me? I want you to come back here one day and tell me 'Look, Lori, I did it!'"
Suddenly she got quiet again as she closed her eyes and made a face that wasn't as bright as the ones I'd seen of hers so far. I asked her what was wrong.
She told me she could see me going through with all the big plans I had for myself, but that the only thing that might stop me if I wasn't careful is my habit of listening to people who don't believe in me. She looked me deep in the eyes as though she was asking me to silently promise I wouldn't listen. A month later, I started TheLightFiles.com, built a new business plan, and glued myself to any and every voice of support I could find. What I didn't anticipate was that after all of the voices of doubt had faded into the background, there would still be one left: my own. About two months after meeting Lori, I was finally out of the rut I was in when I visited her, but to my surprise, my little rut would come back to visit more than once over the past year and call itself "writer's block."
For several months at a time since last June, I've found myself totally unsure of what the hell Lori was talking about when she told me I had a really great idea on my hands. The number of times I've stood paralyzed wondering what in the world I'm doing seems almost infinite, but each time I get stuck, there's only one thing that gets me out: the willingness to write even though I have no clue what I'm doing and absolutely nothing to say.
So here's my little secret: I never figure out what I'm doing, or what I want to write about next, by "figuring it out." No matter how much it ails me, annoys me, or makes me want to scream, the only way I can get through all of the things that block me is to pick up my pen (laptop) and write something anyway. I have to start right now. Not tomorrow, not next week: right in the minute I'm in.
There are countless reasons why this seems like an impossibility at any given moment: I' m not in shape enough to post a photo that corresponds with something I want to post, I have nothing to say when I'm stuck in a rut...but actually, I have the most to say when I'm stuck in a rut, because the best and fastest way to understand something that baffles you is to teach someone else how to do it. Not kidding, it works every time.
So whatever it is you're putting off, maybe there are 11 things that are gnawing at you, begging to be written or acted out or painted - pick the most important one and give it even five minutes of your time today. Maybe tomorrow that will feel a little more natural, and you'll like it so much you'll spend a whole 10 minutes on it by accident. When it comes to following a dream, or chasing whatever it is that makes you happy, there's no time like the present to get started. In my experience, objects in the future aren't larger than they appear. Once you take the first bite, that overwhelming task list in front of you will seem a whole lot more manageable.
The world around us is constantly pushing ways we can get it all done at once and get it all done now, whether it's losing 100 pounds overnight or making millions without having to move a finger. The truth is, though, that most real and lasting progress comes from honest and mindful baby steps that eventually add up to miles and miles of growth that's really sustainable. You don't have to solve every problem you have in the next five minutes, or write that novel you've always wanted to write by Friday, but even writing the first page will be one real page closer. And that is something to be proud of.