Regardless of what you are going to undertake, be it a new job, a new sport, your first public speech, there is likely doing to be some fear involved. That is just fine, it is a normal response and it is part of the human experience. The piece of the puzzle that does matter is this:
You can’t allow Self Doubt to squash your dreams.
If you wait for the “right time” to begin something new, or when you are ready, you are likely missing out on ever getting started. Ask any parent, they will tell you that there is no “right time” to have a child. Maybe you can squirrel away some cash ahead of time, make better accommodations for your work schedule, etc., but there is never a time when things falls exactly into place. You might have days where things feel aligned, but 18 years in row…doubtful. If you want to raise a family, you should plan it out as best you can, make every preparation possible, and deal with what life throws at you from there. That’s as good as it gets, in my opinion.
At sixteen years old I decided that I wanted to be a Pro Racquetball Player, I didn’t even belong to a health club. I was literally playing outdoor racquetball at a park. I didn’t have a coach, the money for a coach, access to indoor courts, or any fricken clue HOW I was going to make that happen. But that didn’t deter me one bit; I started with the dream and the faith that things would come together at the right time for this to happen. That is as good as it gets sometimes… By the way, things did come together, and here is a perfect example: I noticed an ad in an old newspaper that was under the hamster cage in my sister’s bedroom about someone winning a year long club membership. (Seriously!) They were selling it because they didn’t live near the club. Despite the newspaper being several months old, I called the number to see if they still had it. They did, and they sold it to me for a hundred bucks. A twelve month membership for the price of one month. I didn’t have the awareness to know just how monumental this moment in time was.
Before long, I was going to school during the day and spending every other waking moment at the club practicing and playing against the better players. This fortunate opportunity got me on the indoor courts, got me the facility and the competition I needed to improve. I got a few lessons from the club Pro and spent hours upon hours working towards my goal. I was nervous and mildly fearful playing new and better players all the time, but I never doubted that I would improve and close the gap between my dream and reality. Despite not starting to play racquetball until I was 16, a good ten years later than when most Pro players begin, I played in my first official Pro event 8 years later in Las Vegas. I made up the lost time with work ethic and constant practice. In retrospect, I would have done a few things differently, and as a coach, I would never allow someone to follow the same path. But I did the best I could with what I had, and that landed me in the top 20 in the world for three years. That was the goal; it was never to be number 1, I didn’t think it was in the cards. I had a lot stacked against me, and although I would have jumped at the chance if fate had the top spot in mind for me, I was happy to have achieved the goal I had written down January of 1986. (yikes!)
Self Doubt is a killer; it ruins dreams, keeps you from ever starting something you really want, and worst of all deprives the world of your gifts. To clarify, I didn’t consider my racquetball game a gift to the world, but WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY has become the foundation of my gift. I can share so much experience because of that journey. People can learn from the good, the bad, and certainly the ugly parts of my journey and hopefully be better prepared for their own.
My question to you is this: What are you afraid of? What is holding you back?
There is an answer for every question, but you need to start with those questions…..
As always, I wish you luck with your endeavors.