The Perils Of Living In The Land Of Maybe

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” — Robert Frost

What is the Land of Maybe?

The Land of Maybe is my description of a state that almost one hundred percent of people live in from time to time. Some people are permanent residents, and some go in and out. The dangerous part of being in the Land of Maybe is that it’s hard to know you are there since it’s not a physical space you can see. It’s a state of being. So what is this place?

It is the state where you think you are committed but you are not. You want to be decisive. You want to choose the road less travelled yet you wonder, “Am I really up for this? Have I got what it takes?” You are deep into self-doubt. There is no need to make yourself feel wrong about being in this state. Why? It’s human to be here. You are in great company.

Helen Mirren, the multi-award winning actress says, “It would be wrong to think that you’re always right and correct and perfect and brilliant. Self-doubt is the thing that drives you to try to improve yourself.” — Esquire, August 2011

So, this may be just the place you need to be. For now. The trick is to become aware of when you are there and when it’s time to leave. Maya Angelou, author, poet, and civil rights activist, once admitted, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’”

Angelou was aware of where she was. She went there often and she knew when to leave.

Both women mastered the art of getting out of the Land of Maybe, quickly. How do we know this? They have demonstrated this by producing a great body of work. It’s evident. Right before our eyes they have created a life of success and purpose that most of us would love to be living. Why aren’t we? Why are we taking the slow route to success?

What is the slow route to success?

I was asked a question by a successful business consultant, Ada Barlatt, a few weeks ago, during a coaching conversation. She asked, “How does being a Maybe hurt me as a business consultant and how do I know when I am there?”

My answer, “When you are unaware you are there — it hurts you by slowing you down from being able to give your clients the best of who you are. That, in turn, slows down your clients and it slows down your own progress toward what you want to accomplish.”

I know because I have lived in the Land of Maybe myself about creating an online platform with a website and a blog for years. Ten years in fact. I have made several attempts at it but never truly launched. How dumb is that? But, as you can see, I am working through my ‘Maybes’ and this blog is proof of that.

Back to my conversation with Ada. How do you know when you or your client is in the Land of Maybe — having feelings of self-doubt? They will usually tell you. If you don’t hear it in their words, you will hear it in their tone of voice or see it in their body language. So what do you do then?

As my friend and fellow coach, Jason Goldberg says so eloquently, “A ‘Maybe’ in working with me, is a sign to just completely take my foot off the gas … not even to dig into why or what’s holding them back. This causes stress. You are not going to make decisions in your life if you feel stress. I say to them, let’s take coaching off the table now. You can’t coach with me. That ship has sailed. And I ask, What’s going on with you? Let’s just talk about you.”

One of the things I have come to recognize is that when a prospective coaching client or my current client is living in the Land of Maybe, this is a time for me to examine whether or not I am also living there in some area of my own life. Maybe even areas not connected with my work at all.

For example, Rochelle Hendricks, is a top-performing insurance advisor who has been specializing in writing policies for individuals and small businesses. She was hesitating about jumping into a new area of business.

Rochelle wants to take her expertise to the farming community because she grew up on a farm and is familiar with the perils of being under-insured or even insured but not being familiar with the contents of the policy. She had experienced this in her own family. After her father passed away, they lost their farm due to one vital piece of information about their policy that the insurance advisor did not share with her father. She wants to help other farmers to avoid this.

She knew what to do but she could just not seem to take the necessary steps. We went through several scenarios of “Maybe I should do this or maybe I should do that”. In her session last week, she showed up with a big radiant smile. Bursting with enthusiasm.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I was working in my garage yesterday, de-cluttering and cleaning, holding a five page To Do list in my hand. I had worked my way to the bottom of that list in less than two days and it suddenly occurred to me. If I can do this. What can I not do? What’s stopping me from picking up the phone and calling the contacts I need to talk to make this change in my business?”

“What was stopping you?” I asked.

“Self-doubt. Plain and simple. I kept thinking that I wasn’t on the level of those farmers and I had nothing to offer. It was time to give that up. So, I did. Right then and there.” She said.

Rochelle became aware of where she was living and decided it was time to move. She became decisive and got into action. Within hours she had made a couple of phone calls and signed up to attend the biggest farming trade show in her area and is now looking into the possibility of being a speaker there, to tell her own farming story.

How did this affect me? After our conversation, I realized that no matter how successful we become, we can end up in the Land of Maybe from time to time, the trick is to recognize when we are there and do what it takes to get out as quickly as possible. Make a decision. Move.

I ordered the mini rebounder I had been waffling about for the last two months and I went for a walk. I re-committed to my exercise program and got into action.

As Jason Goldberg says about himself, “I’m not immune from maybe. I just think my window of when I doubt myself is smaller. I’m going to doubt myself along the way. But I’m going to be telling myself not to be so serious about this. Have some fun. There is work to be done here, so, I ask myself, How can I shorten the window of time between maybe and getting stuff done? “

You can read about how Jason helps his clients in his new book, “Prison Break: Vanquish the Victim, Own Your Obstacles, and Lead Your Life.” He helps people to own their ‘enoughness’, stop being so serious and have fun with their lives.

None of us are immune from self-doubt and living in the Land of Maybe.

Want to shorten the amount of time you spend there? The next time you hear yourself utter the word “maybe” or find yourself taking too much time in making a decision ask yourself, “What do I need to do, right now, to get myself out of the Land of Maybe and get into action?”

Want to follow my process as I work my way towards publishing my first book? Please, like my posts and subscribe to my blog here.

Faith Evan West will show you through the transformative power of coaching exactly how to build your unique unshakeable confidence, be the leader of choice to your ideal people & create the work and lifestyle you want.


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