How to Stop Waiting and Start Doing

45E4CF6F-3FC0-4E8D-99BD-6F609B04E742.jpegI’ve always done things before I was truly ready. Actually, I’ve almost always done things that other people didn’t quite think I was ready for. I went back to school and eventually got my Master’s degree when I was a divorced mom of two. My father who actually was my biggest supporter (but was also a very practical guy) was quick to let me know that there was no way I could do that with two kids. I bought my first house under 30 (again as a young, single mom) and quit my steady job that I’d held for over a decade to take a substitute counseling position instead of waiting for a full time position to become available. Now, granted… I can understand why everyone was concerned about that last one. I wasn’t just going for something new. I was also giving up something pretty important. I was quitting a pretty good paying job with health benefits and a retirement plan to take a chance on a substitute position working out. Everyone thought I was crazy but you know what? It worked out. I was hired full-time within a month.

The funny thing about me rattling off this short list of life changing accomplishments is that there are probably 100 more times that I took a chance on something that didn’t work out. But the reality is I really don’t remember those times. The chances I took that didn’t lead me to great destinations are merely blips in the road that aren’t even worthy of a rearview mirror glance. I’m always looking forward and you can to. Here’s how to Stop Waiting and Do it Now.

  1. Take baby steps- When I say I went back to school and eventually got my Master’s degree, I didn’t just say “Hey, i’m going to grad school by any means necessary!”(although hats off to you if you are that bold). I started out by taking a class or two and figuring out how that would work for my family logistically and financially. I took baby steps until I felt confident enough and secure enough with my family plan to go all in. Most likely taking one small step towards your goal isn’t going to lead to a major set back. You will have time to assess and decide how to continue that forward motion. Essentially you will be building a little baby CAN DO Muscle.
  2. Expand on what you’re already good at- A lot of the time we don’t do the next thing because we lack the confidence. We come up with tons of reasons and make excuses for why we can’t do this or that, but most often we are simply afraid. We’re afraid that we CAN’T do the thing so it’s easier to make up reasons why we could have, but chose not to. A great way to build your CAN DO confidence is by expanding on something that you are already pretty good at. If you are a confident dancer like my younger daughter then taking up Zumba and even getting certified to teach might come easy to you. It did for my youngest daughter. If you are a talented writer and you were an English major in college, then why not start your own blog? That also worked out for my oldest daughter.  Or maybe you take great pictures so why not learn more about the photography business? Chances are you are going to be in a class of your own. You’ll have an advantage over all the people like me who just try anything. Having that level of confidence in your  basic ability will help you strengthen your CAN DO muscle.
  3. Learn something new- Once you’ve begun to strengthen your CAN DO Muscle it’s time to flex it a little. Try something completely new. The good thing about learning something that you have no prior knowledge in, is that there is nowhere to go but up. Failure isn’t even really failure because you still walk away knowing more than when you started even if that knowledge is simply this is not for me. I took a cake decorating class once with a friend and it was so much fun. Now granted, I was horrible at it, but I learned about how hard it is to do something that looks easy. I also learned about what goes into cake decorating and most importantly I learned that I like purchasing beautiful cakes, not making them. Was I embarrassed or saddened by my failure? Not at all. A room full of people failed right along with me… but at least we tried. There were a few decorating stars in the room that day, but they were most likely those who were expanding on what they already knew. I was flexing my try something new muscle and had no skin in the game, meaning my failure didn’t feel like failure at all.
  4. Throw your hat in the ring for big things-Okay, now that you’ve learned to flex its time to jump in the ring. You’re ready now to do the thing that YOU may not even think you can do. Forget the naysayers or the fear of looking like a failure. These are the things that even you realize are a long shot. But the reality is you still have a shot. If they’re asking for applications or submissions and you meet even the most minimum requirement then apply! When I applied to be an O Mag Insider I didn’t think for one minute that I would really make the cut but lo and behold I did, and I am still loving the program two years later. If I hadn’t been selected I probably wouldn’t even be thinking about that now. I would still read my Oprah Magazines each month with no level of disappointment because I knew it was a long shot, but applied anyway. There is freedom in that. There’s very little disappointment when there’s no expectation and then, if and when it does work out there’s a whole lot of room for celebration!

So, these are my tips for building up your ability to do it now.  I’d love to hear what you think. And, remember that most people are doing things that they never thought they were truly qualified for. We are all a work in progress. The only difference between them and you is that they chose to DO!


Until Next Post,

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

9 thoughts on “How to Stop Waiting and Start Doing

  1. This is absolutely wonderful and so inspiring. Also very motivating. The thought of failure often stops people from trying. I can say it has for me but as I’ve gotten older I’ve started taken more chances. I feel the older I get the bolder I become. I realize life is short and I have to do what makes me happy and start taking more chances having more fun and doing what makes me happy! Not living for others living for myself and not caring what others think. #yolo. Such a great blog. Thank you


  2. Tonya this article is so inspiring. You’re an awesome writer, with a knack for really breaking issues down into bite size pieces. Thank you. Keep up the amazing work!

    Liked by 1 person

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