My question to you, today, is why are you waiting? Waiting for a better opportunity, waiting for a better time, waiting for better resources? Why are you waiting?
I was stuck in a period of waiting for a long, long time. I had wanted to start a blog for a few years but never felt prepared. I kept telling myself “whenever you understand all this technical stuff”, “whenever you get better at using your camera”, or “when you get out of high school” – then you can start it. But telling yourself to constantly wait for something is not a way to live.
In a way, I was too insecure in my abilities and in my resources to start something new. I didn’t think I had anything meaningful to say, I didn’t think my camera was good enough, and I doubted myself. I didn’t want to put myself out there for people to see. I didn’t want people to see my interests as dumb. I was waiting for some heavenly boost of confidence that never came.
Last fall, I confronted these insecurities and literally just went for it. Why was I still waiting to do something I am passionate about? Why was I waiting for validation? Why was I waiting to be “prepared”?
No, my camera is not the best on the market and no, I am not very good at using it.
No, my blog design is not amazingly complex and no, I do not understand all the technicalities.
No, I am not some super interesting person and no, I am not an amazing writer.
But I wanted to start a blog, and that’s what I did.
So here are the personal lessons I learned when I decided to step out in faith and stop waiting.
1. Done Is Better Than Perfect
One of my absolute favorite / bloggers/ inspirational speakers is Aileen Xu or “Lavendaire”. She has so much amazing content on personal growth and lifestyle which is right up my alley. One of my favorite videos by her is this one called “Done is Better than Perfect”. I definitely recommend watching this video, along with all of her videos! She goes on to explain how giving yourself too much time to complete a task can result in the project never being completed. She explains how finishing a project to the best of your ability within a set timeline is most beneficial for progress, even if the finished product is not perfect.
I could not agree more with her logic here. I was so fearful to start a blog for so long because I never thought it would be good enough. Despite perfection being impossible, I never felt like my blog would reach the standards that are set up for bloggers today. I don’t have a custom designed blog, I don’t have a personal photographer, and I can’t put up a new post everyday. My blog is far from perfect.
But… I have a blog.
I set up a website for myself. I take photos when I want to. I write about my thoughts and I upload them to this site.
I know my blog is not perfect, but I am proud that I have one. I stopped waiting.
I could have kept waiting until I had spent hundreds of dollars on a blog design, a new DSLR, the best lenses, and so on, but, instead, I learned that done is better than perfect. The same goes for you. Stop waiting for everything to line up perfectly. Stop waiting for the best resources and the best strategy. Stop waiting for perfection and do it. Stop waiting.
2. Once Begun is Half Done
As the lovely Mary Poppins once said, “Once begun is half done.” Holy crap, is that true, or what? I am not the biggest procrastinator in the world, but I can completely identify with the mentality of “oh, I’ll just get around to it sometime”.
I always told myself to start a blog, and even my closest friends (who actually knew of this desire) constantly encourage me to finally do it. But I would always shrug it off and tell them “yeah, well I’ll get around to it one of these days”.
I never started the project that I was so, so interested in. I never committed to this dream of mine (go ahead and laugh if you want) of being a blogger. I kept telling myself that “when I was ready” I would go ahead and start my blog.
But the truth is, will you ever actually be “ready”? Are you ever truly prepared to venture out into uncharted waters? Obviously this thing that you are waiting for is something that you aren’t necessarily ‘familiar’ with. Because why else would you be waiting?
Recognize the inevitability of uncertainty and strive to get over this fear.
With this feeling of being unprepared, the procrastination seems to pile up more and more. The fear grows larger and stronger as you remind yourself not to deal with this uneasiness now, you’ll just get around to it later.
But, I remembered all the times my mom would repeat that simple quote to me. Once begun is half done.
Starting is the absolute hardest part of any journey, no doubt about it. It holds so much uncertainty, so much unexplainable fear, and so much self-inflicted doubt. Yet, it is also the most rewarding time of any journey. The excitement truly begins once the adventure is being experienced.
I procrastinated for so, so long when starting my blog due to one “teeny” issue.
I could not think of a good blog name.
Possibly a dumb reason to you, naming a blog is so difficult because it must be something that represents the individual, is able to grow with the blogger, and is appealing to the reader. And I seriously could not think of something good.
For months, I researched “how to name a blog” and gained no insight into what my blog should be called. But I continually was reminded that starting is the hardest part. And just like when you go swimming, the best way to begin is to just jump right in.
So that’s what I did.
I, for lack of a better word, settled for “Call me Gail”. And I am so, so happy that I did. Today, I love my blog name. It represents me in a quirky way that is different than most everything else out there and truly explains what my mission is for this blog (if you don’t know the story behind the name, check it out here).
But my favorite thing about my name is that once it was chosen, I could actually get to the fun part! Creating, writing, and designing a space for myself to share my life with others.
Finally choosing my blog name made the rest of the process a walk in the park.
So, friends, I tell you: once begun is half done.
And still you may be thinking “that’s great, but I have no idea what the first step is! Obviously I would start if I knew what to do, but you just explained how I will never truly know what to expect! What do I do?”
3. Do the Next Right Thing
My mom has instilled this piece of advice into my life for a few years now. The lesson of “Do the next right thing” can be applied to so many different situations for absolutely everybody.
This “next right thing” looks different for each person and each situation, but that is what makes this tip so incredible.
As I explained before, the ‘thing’ that you have been waiting for is most definitely uncharted waters. That being so, you may not know what to expect with this new adventure. You may not know how to start this project. You may not know what the next step is for yourself.
So, what do you do? You do the next right thing.
Looking at the grand scheme of things may be healthy when trying to gain perspective on things, but not when you are making a game plan for venturing into unknown territory. Looking at the adventure in its entirety is a sure way to scare yourself out of taking a step of faith.
Instead, I learned that it is much more beneficial to look into the near future, and ask yourself: “what is the next right thing that I can do?”
When you take a step towards a goal that you have, it is completely expected to not feel prepared. But if you look at your goal with the mindset of simply to “do the next right thing” (ie. make the next decision that you see as beneficial and “right”), your challenges will appear SO much smaller because you have shifted your focus from the large-scale to simply one decision.
And now, you may be asking yourself, “okay, but how can I practically do this?” Which shifts into the next lesson I learned.
4. Set Smaller Goals for Bigger Dreams
If you watch Lavendaire’s video, as I mentioned in tip #1, you would hear her explain how setting small goals for yourself is a great way to be productive.
According to Parkinson’s Law, as Aileen explains, if you give yourself two weeks to get a project done, it will take you those two weeks to complete it. Similarly, if you give yourself two whole years to do the exact same project, the project itself will expand to fill up those two years, and it will take you that long to complete it.
Therefore, the magnitude of almost any task is dependent on the allotted time given for that task.
Applying this law to your own life is as simple as setting smaller goals for yourself that you can complete within a given amount of time. Even if you are not a ‘planner’ type of person (which I definitely am), you can greatly benefit from this tip! Instead of just “getting around to it”, give yourself a deadline to accomplish part of a larger task. Whether it is a two week period or even dependent on a future event, set a goal and aim to complete it.
Now, don’t read me wrong here! I am not saying to decrease the size of your dreams and settle for smaller, more manageable tasks. I am telling your to take those huge dreams and break them up into small, bite sized goals.
Instead of trying to swallow the entire task all at once, breaking up a task into smaller pieces allows you to stress less, be productive, and even do a better job on each small task. Thus, you accomplish your big goals by setting small goals. Make sense?
I learned this lesson, as some might say, the hard way. Turns out you can’t just start up a beautiful and successful blog overnight (or even in a month). Who would have thought?!
I expected myself to be a natural to this whole “blogging” thing and seriously expected it all to be easy. Looking back now, I purchased my blog in November and even now (in late March) and I barely comfortable with it.
I had to learn to expect some failure and set smaller goals for myself, like learn how to create a good logo, and then piece together a unique blog.
Thankfully, this failure hasn’t scared me out of pursuing my blog.
Stop letting the fear of its entirety inhibit you from accomplishing your dreams. Stop waiting.
5. God Uses the Unprepared
Most importantly, remember that God uses those who feel unprepared. Rather than a true lesson, this piece of advice fits the mold of a revelation.
As you look back, from Zechariah to Jesus’ disciples, from David to Paul, God so often enables those who seem unprepared for amazing roles in furthering his kingdom. These people were no exuberant leaders or eloquent speakers. They weren’t hugely popular or gifted in any real way. But God enabled them to do extraordinary things.
Never doubt yourself to the point where you think that even God couldn’t use someone like you. Because over and over again, we have seen God strengthen the weak.
I waited for so long because I felt like I had nothing to offer. If anything, starting a blog would only be a means for people to make fun of me, not for me to inspire people. I regularly ignored the truth that God reveals to us in that he isn’t looking for someone who is great already. He finds those who seem unprepared and ignites them to be ambassadors for his glory.
If you are stuck waiting because you feel ill-prepared, inferior, or ashamed, recognize those lies and look back to see what God has already done.
God rarely calls the equipped. Instead, he equips those he has called.
And finally, my friends, no matter what the situation is, refuse to wait any longer. Why are you waiting for the future when you are not even promised tomorrow? Stop waiting to be yourself, stop waiting to do something you love, stop waiting to build relationships, and stop waiting to get serious about the things you care about.
“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” – Christopher Robins
Thanks for reading!