We know them as the famous words uttered by all the Hollywood movie directors: "Lights! Camera! ACTION!" Upon that last word, the clapperboard snaps down and magic is made. But what if the director never said "action"?
So often in initial consultation sessions and even in coaching sessions, people tell me how important X is to them. That X is their number one priority. "I've got to get back in shape, fitness is so important to me," or "I want to put myself first" or even "something's stopping me from being where I want to be and getting it sorted out is my priority." When we chat a bit more, they go on to tell me all of the dreams, wishes and desires tied to this priority for who they want to be and how they want to live their best life.
When talking about their deepest dreams, wishes and desires for themselves, I see people light up and sparkle. I see their eyes dance, I hear their voices become light and animated as they smile when they speak. I watch their arms move with fluidity and freedom and their whole body seems taller, confident and unstoppable.
Then it happens.
I know it's happening even when they don't because the change is so obvious to me it's like night and day.
I watch as they talk themselves out of the very thought of even trying.
It happens in an instant and they don't even have to say a word. It happens in their minds and is immediately reflected in the sigh of breath, the shoulders that droop forward, the crossed arms, and the heavy limbs. Their eyes look downward and the light shuts off. All this happens in a millisecond and I know what's coming next.
With their voices as steady and rational as ever, I hear people say things like:
- "I'm ready to go, but I just don't have the time to start something else right now."
- "I'm so busy right now. I know it's important so I'll do it next month when my schedule clears up."
- "I just don't know where to start."
- "I'm just not ready."
- "I don't have any money."
- "I have kids. I can't do that."
All these reasons are just different ways of saying the same thing: that the priority wasn't a priority to begin with and that they feel safer living in their current situation than in making their dreams into their reality. Why? Because taking action is scary.
I once read somewhere that "the distance between your dreams and reality is called action." If we don't DO the thing, we can't BE the thing. That thing stopping us from taking action to reach our dreams and be the person we want to be is fear. Fear of failure, fear of what other people might think, fear of success, fear of not being good enough, fear of what might or might not happen if we try, fear of not be able to provide for our families, fear of being a bad parent, fear of what might happen if we drop other activities to allow ourselves to pursue what makes us fulfilled. So we keep on living by making everything else more important and then feel sad, anxious, depressed and unfulfilled as we watch our dreams move further and further away from our reality.
We don't even know we're doing it. We don't quit the committee we're on even though we're miserable with it because we're afraid of what the other members would think or what might happen if we left. So we stick with the miserable committee rather than taking that yoga instruction course. We know the course would get us closer to our dream of owning a yoga studio and then we rationalize it away by telling ourselves our schedule is too full and we can't take it on. Then we resentfully attend each committee meeting feeling more trapped and miserable than before.
The only way through fear is action. When we feel anxious and fearful it's about an imagined situation in the future, yet when we arrive at that future we most often find that all that suff we were afraid of never happened, or if it did, it was nowhere near as bad as we thought.
You can only bridge the gap between your dreams and reality by taking action. Take action BECAUSE it scares you. Fear can act as a sign telling us exactly what we need to do, pointing us in the direction of our goals and our heart's desires. Sign up for that class, book that coaching appointment (see what I did there?) quit that miserable committee because you were meant to live in freedom and fulfillment.
Be the director of your own life. Shout "ACTION" and get out there and make your magic happen!