Last week, as I listened to a prospective client tell me about what she wanted to do with her life, I fell in love with her dream just a little bit. I found myself sitting up straighter, listening attentively, nodding along and smiling knowingly.
It happens all the time in these early conversations. I get excited when someone is on the path to where she’s meant to be. There’s nothing more exhilarating than watching possibility unfold.
This particular woman went on for several minutes, animatedly describing what she wanted to do next and how it would feel to get there. She’d been thinking about this – you could tell. It wasn’t a new thing…it had been percolating. My obvious interest gave her permission to keep sharing and her enthusiasm grew as she added details to the idea, allowing herself to expand her vision.
Since we were on the phone, I was scribbling notes as she talked – adding nuances of my own to what she’d shared. I could literally picture her in this dream – one that was so clearly what she is meant to do.
I took a sip of water and was preparing to tell her all of this, when she abruptly stopped painting this masterpiece of a word-picture, dropped her voice by ten decibels, and muttered,
“But never mind. That’s just me being crazy. Let’s move on.”
It was as though the idea train that had been picking up steam slammed on the brakes as those words came out of her mouth…presumably to avoid running into the imaginary brick wall she had just erected in front of it…and I felt myself lurch forward as I hit the brakes on my own ideas.
Let’s move ON? Really?! After all of THAT?!
So I pressed a little.
“What just happened there? Why are we moving on? We were on a roll!”
“Well, you know, it’s just a crazy pipe dream. I have a job, and bills to pay, and kids to educate. Besides, I wouldn’t even know where to start to get something like that off the ground and who knows if it would ever work?”
That’s a brick wall if I’ve ever seen one. Except…
This brick wall isn’t made of bricks. It’s built entirely of unproven fears and rampant self doubt.
It may look like a wall, but it’s not. It’s just YOU… getting in your own way.
So let’s talk for a minute about the two steps you need to take to get out of your own way.
1. First, change the way you talk about your idea.
The first step is to change the way you talk about your vision. Immediately. Stop framing it as an impossible, outlandish dream and start framing it as a future reality, one that actually has a chance of coming into being. This simple reframe starts sending different messages to your brain so you allow yourself to file this idea under “possible” instead of “impossible.” This is important, because if you keep it framed as impossible, YOU WILL NEVER START. Which brings me to the second step.
2. Then, STOP talking about it and start doing it.
In this all important second step, you stop talking about your dream and start doing it. One small, not-too-scary task at a time. This is where my oft-quoted phrase “Action begets action” comes into the picture. You might remember learning in high school physics that an object in motion will stay in motion, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to achieve. Most dreams die because that first step never gets taken. Once you’ve taken it, you’re off the starting blocks. And that one little action leads to the next…and the next. Before you know it, your once-impossible dream is on its way to becoming your reality.
I shared this with the woman I had on the phone and we agreed that while those two steps were simple, they certainly weren’t easy. Changing those well-established patterns takes effort, and sometimes it requires a fresh perspective to get started and strong support to stay the course.
We’ve only been working together for a week, but she’s off the starting blocks after years of just talking about her dream. Because that’s exactly what happens when you get out of your own way.
While I have you….
I’d love to speak to your company, conference, or organization this year.
I’m SUPER passionate about coaching women within my programs but I also love leading these conversations with companies and organizations. In fact, speaking is a BIG part of how I share the Brilliant Balance message!
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This is based on a blog post originally published May 10, 2017