After all, that’s how it always worked, right?
You got picked for the team. Or not. Your essay got accepted to the literary review. Or not. You passed the test. Or not. And there was always someone telling you whether or not you “made it.”
So why would it be any different now that I was miserable working in a cubicle, fantasizing about playing music for a living?
I figured that some arbiter of worthiness had to wave me forward. Which meant that for way too long, I did what many people do when they have an idea or a dream…
I waited for an entity – more important than me, more “in the know” than me – to swoop down from some holy place (or more likely, some corporate office) – and give me permission to be this thing.
If I hadn’t eventually discovered the powerlessness of this illusion, I’d still be working in a cubicle, trying to convince myself that advertising and PR was all I ever really wanted to do.
Mind you, this discovery didn’t cause me to burst forth into the world like a Katy Perry firework. I was more like a cheap lighter…the kind you have to really futz with to flick that spark into life.
But flick it, I did. And the spark came because I finally gave myself permission to be a musician. (It was extra lovely that it rhymed, too.) Then, based on that permission, I finally stopped waiting.
Waiting is a verb. But really? It’s not. Most people use waiting as a default. Maybe for a big thing, like starting their business. Maybe for a small thing, like signing up to work with a mentor. But most people – and you might be one of them – lamely convince themselves that waiting is an action verb.
These days, I coach high performers who run their own businesses. And guess what? They get stuck waiting, too. In fact, over the years I’ve discovered 5 Waiting Traps that keep our fearful, nail-biting little mind spinning its wheels.
Breaking free begins with awareness. When you can identify your waiting trap, you can call yourself on it – and begin taking real action to bring your idea to life.
Waiting Trap #1 – Waiting for Permission
When my clients and students get big ideas, their first thought is usually, “Hey, someone should really do that!” When I suggest that perhaps they are that someone, they freeze at first. Really? Me? No way!
Waiting for permission is based in a paradigm that says others who are more significant, more important, more REAL than us get to grant us permission to make the decision we want to make.
The thing is, no one can give you permission but you. YOU are the most important figure in your decision-making process.
“No one can give you permission but you. YOU are the most important figure in your decision-making process.”
Waiting Trap #2 – Waiting for Perfection
We get stuck in this trap when we wait for a more perfect model of ourselves to emerge.
Some new and improved version of ourselves has to show up before we can charge more or dare host a live event. Someone with less fat, more smarts, more self-esteem, less anxiety…and on and on. Except that:
She never comes. And even if she did, you’d keep raising the bar on her.
Imagine this: You’re enough right now. Perfection is just a convenient illusion that keeps you from having to take action.
Waiting Trap #3 – Waiting for Certainty
“I won’t move a muscle until I’ve received confirmation that this is a no-risk, no-chance-for-failure decision.”
Okay, you may not say exactly those words. Your version is much more clever. You may simply not try your new idea because hey, your business has reached a certain level of success, and you can’t take chances anymore! I have overhead now – I can’t try anything new unless I’m certain it will work!
Or maybe you don’t fire the bookkeeper who’s no longer a fit for your team. What if there’s no one else out there? Then what?
Isn’t there some divine sign that guarantees we’re making the right decision?
That’s why you’re an entrepreneur. Not to get all George Michael on you – but you gotta have faith.
Waiting Trap #4 – Waiting for Rescue
Ah, the damsel. Waiting in her tower.
Most likely, she could traipse down the cold dank stairs, shove the door open and walk out into the world. But then, she might get cold, or fall down the steps, or be uncomfortable. Better to wait. Isn’t there supposed to be big white horse or something?
Your tower is your idea. You wait in the tower because you’re scared. After all, there’s uncharted territory all around.
It’d be so much easier if your prince (or record executive, or publishing deal, or business partner) would come riding along and save the day – i.e., do the tedious work you don’t want to deal with.
The lesson every successful person learns: NO ONE is coming. Rescue yourself. Do the uncomfortable work.
Waiting Trap #5 – Waiting for Discovery
If you’re waiting for discovery, it’s not entirely your fault. The media loves to encourage the image of our stars being plucked out of obscurity by other stars.
So, we wait for Oprah, or Tim Ferriss, or Cher, or [insert your discoverer here] to do their plucking work on us.
The thing is, the being discovered routine no longer applies. Business, nowadays, is played on a level field. Everyone has access. No publisher or agent stands in the way of you making your offer!
You are the gatekeeper. You’re just scared to be a nobody, that’s all. Being a nobody can suck sometimes [says the musician who spent many an evening performing to an audience of five, one of whom was the sound guy] – but you know what sucks worse?
What sucks worse is giving your destiny over to someone else. You have to discover yourself.
There’s a common thread here. And that is this:
Each of the waiting traps places the power exactly where you don’t want it:
Outside of you.
The waiting traps can only operate if you give your power over to someone else or to an illusion. Knowing this, you can now ask yourself what it would look like if you had the power. What would your very next step be?
If you’re ready to take your power back, and own it, then now’s the time to make a move. I’m closing the doors on my Uplevel Your Business Program this week. Click here to find out how to build an Upleveled business that supports your lifestyle and makes you lots of money while you make a huge impact in the world.
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