“When the time is right, I’ll know it.”
How often have you heard those words, or said them yourself?
The reality is, time is a tricky bastard — because it doesn’t always work in our favor. Even when it seems like the moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived, the stars are aligned, and everything is in balance, the unpredictable nature of time will ultimately create doubts and, if we’re not paying attention, we may convince ourselves to hold off on our plans — until the time is really right.
Maybe you’ve been asking yourself when you’ll be ready to:
- Leave Your Job
- Start a new business
- Go back to school
- Take a sabbatical
- Start a 401k
- Buy a house
- Join an exercise class
- Have a child
- End a relationship
- Cut your hair
When my family and friends tell me their aspirations for creating a perfect life, they talk about their plans with enthusiasm. It’s inspiring to witness their optimistic attitudes — until I ask them what they’re waiting for.
Typically, the well-rehearsed excuses and rationalizations begin to pop up — all the hurdles and roadblocks, real or imaginary, they believe are holding their dreams captive.
Why? The answer is almost always the same …
Because it’s not the right time.
And that’s when the tough questions come out:
What if the right time has already come and gone? What if it was last week, or last month, or last year? Or what if, in your mind, the right time never arrives? Does that mean your dreams are forever banished to Someday Isle, an overcrowded yet ironically welcoming purgatory of desperation and dashed hopes?
I don’t know the answers. In fact, I’m still looking for a more objective process to identify the best time, that perfect moment — when all the lights are green and there’s no doubt all systems are go.
Maybe we need a signal
… a brightly illuminated flashing sign in the sky or a huge multi-colored neon display across the stage of our minds proclaiming, “Do It Now!”
Would that be enough of a stimulus for us to realize our imagined “better future” will never happen if we continue to maintain our tight grasp on procrastination?
So how can we break through the obstacles in our path that keep us from making a decision or change in our life? A change, by the way, we are not only dreaming about, but expect to come true.
“Lost time is never found again.” — Benjamin Franklin
Here’s what I’ve learned from spending more than enough time on Someday Isle:
Recognize change as an opportunity.
Whether in the form of a personal choice or life circumstance, take advantage of disruptions in your life to raise a few questions about your current and future path.
Consider all the possibilities, pitfalls, and potential consequences.
Not every opportunity is for you, and not all roads will lead to your desired outcome.
Take action in some form.
When faced with the possibility of a new beginning or change in your life, there are four options to consider:
- Embrace it wholly and integrate it into your plan
- Reject it and move on — with no regrets
- Put it aside for another time (this may result in a longer stint on you-know-where)
- Do nothing, and take up full-time residence on the Isle
If you become paralyzed with doubt or worry …
Realize this is nothing more than a holding pattern, one of those hurdles to overcome in moving forward. It may take a little extra effort to research the details or work through the steps of implementation, but it’s often worth the investment.
Start by dedicating a reasonable amount of time to gather information and obtain the advice of experts. Then set a deadline for your decision. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, scheduling the process often relieves some of the stress.
Life is happening right now. Is time your captor or your liberator?
It’s up to you to decide!
Jill Reid is a writer and founder of Pathway to Personal Growth, featuring articles on self-improvement, personal success strategies, and tips for living longer and stronger through positive lifestyle choices, and Kitchen Spirit, a health, food, and fitness website. Follow Jill on Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.