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How To Take Action When You Don’t Feel Ready

What’s stopping you from taking action on your dreams? Learn how to take action on the things you’ve been putting off, even when you don’t feel ready!

Have you been waiting for the perfect moment to get started on something? I know you have that grand idea or project in the back of your mind that you’ve been putting off for the past few days, weeks, months, or maybe even years (!). I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as the perfect moment.

What’s stopping you from taking action on your dreams? Learn how to take action on the things you’ve been putting off, even when you don’t feel ready!

So many of us wait around until the perfect moment to take action. We hold ourselves back from taking action on the things we think about over and over again. The thing is, we’re only wasting time if we’re thinking about doing things instead of actually doing them.

You only have so much time and energy to spare, and I definitely don’t want you wasting it all on thinking instead of doing. As someone who loves to stay in my comfort zone, I get that it’s ridiculously scary to take risks. But you deserve to do the things you want to do, my friend.

Today, let’s talk about taking action before you’re ready. I’m going to share how I took the leap into self-employment before I was ready, as well as how you can stop holding yourself back and take imperfect action. I hope this post gives you a kick in the butt to start what you’ve been putting off!

Being Ready is a Myth

I know how easy it is to get caught up in your own thoughts instead of taking action on them. It’s easy to replay the same thoughts about whether you should do something or not because you’re unsure of how it’s going to work out.

With any of the major decisions I’ve made in my life, I’ve never really felt ready to do any of them. I mean, when do we ever feel fully ready to do anything? If you do feel ready, you probably waited too long to get started.

I think it’s b.s. to convince ourselves that we should feel ready before we do anything. This only holds us back from taking action. Instead, we need to be okay with the concept of taking imperfect action and figuring out the details afterward.

Taking Imperfect Action

People always ask me how I knew I was ready to take my blog full-time. The answer is that I wasn’t. My original plan was to leave my full-time job in September 2017 after I finished graduate school, but things didn’t exactly go to plan. My boss said that if I wanted to leave (she knew I was planning to), I would have to do it by the end of June for “budgetary reasons”.

I went into panic mode about what I was going to do. I didn’t feel ready to take that leap in the slightest. At that point, my options were to make self-employment work or try to find another job. I definitely didn’t want another 9-5 job, so…

I came up with a new action plan: I’d give myself two months to make self-employment work. I didn’t know what I was going to do in those two months, but I decided this would be my trial period.

Over those two months, I started offering coaching services. I didn’t feel ready to do that either because I was still in the midst of my graduate school program for coaching. Regardless, I shared with the world that I would be coaching starting in July. Somehow the stars aligned, and I booked my first client.

Since that point, I’ve been figuring out the details along the way. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m still making it work.

If I hadn’t had that push to take action when I wasn’t ready, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. The truth is that things often fall into place if you give them the chance.

Read this next: Leaving The 9-5, Starting My Own Business, And Pushing Through Self-Doubt

How To Take Action Before You’re Ready

Of course, the ‘starting before you’re ready’ principle isn’t only for the big decisions in your life. Start that project you’ve been putting off, those habits you’ve been wanting to start, and those difficult conversations you’ve been meaning to have.

If you’re holding yourself back from taking action, here are a few things you can work on right now (write these down!):

1. Don’t get caught up in the details

If you like to plan out every little detail of what you’re doing, start by taking action – then plan the rest. Planning the big action itself often leads to procrastination because you have time to talk yourself out of it. Instead, take the action you’ve been putting off, and plan from the point after you’ve made the first step.

2. Give yourself permission to be imperfect

Many of us hold ourselves back because we need to do everything the *right* way. If you’re always waiting for the perfect time, place, or situation, you are only procrastinating. Rather than letting perfectionism control your actions, give yourself permission to take imperfect action in your life. Imperfect action takes reign over no action at all.

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” John Steinbeck

3. Create a timeline and a back-up plan

Give yourself a timeline to take action while also having a fallback plan. I gave myself permission to test out self-employment for two months. If it didn’t work out after that time period, I knew I could look for another job. Whatever it is you’re hesitant about, set a time period to try it out and have a back-up plan ready if it helps you feel more secure.

Are you ready to take imperfect action?

Give yourself permission to take imperfect action on whatever you’ve been holding off on. Take the risk and see what happens.

Read This Next: How To Move Past Self-Doubt And Do That Thing Anyway

About the Author
Picture of Catherine Beard
Hi, I'm Catherine! As the creator of The Blissful Mind, I love exploring ways to make life more fulfilling, especially when it comes to our daily routines, habits, and well-being.

18 Responses

    1. Such crazy timing haha! Ever since we got coffee last and you said you weren’t sure if you were going to take the leap into self-employment, I’ve been secretly hoping you would ;)

  1. Oh my goodness…I feel like you wrote this just for me! (Though, of course, you’ve tapped a universal feeling & challenge.) You’re reference to “imperfect” REALLY resonated, especially given I just launched my new project/blog called, Imperfect Zen! Now I did ultimately take the leap…and I worked hard to be as ready as possible…but 1) I had to constantly be letting go of inner expectations and the urge to delay for the very elusive ideas of “better” & “more”, and 2) even though I took the leap (and I’m all about being imperfect), I still have to constantly remind myself, daily, that it’s okay to keep leaping and keep being imperfect. Because you’re absolutely right…there will never be a perfect time…a perfect anything! We must seize the day and seize our dreams…imperfectly! In addition to your great steps, I would just add: 4. Tell someone…or lots of someones, as was my case, when I announced a launch date…it adds a level of commitment and accountability to the leap.
    Thank you for this and ALL your wonderful posts!

    1. How exciting that you launched that! Yes, telling people is the best way to stay accountable. When I launched my ebook, I told people it would be done by a certain date. It really helped push you to take imperfect action. So glad this resonated with you, Shelley! <3

  2. I’m in a very similar situation. I was fired last month from work that literally left me sick. My dream is to have my own company that could work remotely from anywhere in the world, but I suffer from the imposter syndrome. I never think I’m ready. That I will be able to reach out to people and offer my services.
    “Who do you think is supposed to offer me something and still charge for it ?!”
    How do I overcome the impostor syndrome and offer my services to people? People think I can, but I do not believe in myself and I’m too ashamed to offer things …

    1. Natalia, I can totally relate to the imposter syndrome. I think the truth is that anyone who has ever offered anything has had those thoughts like ‘Who am I to do this?’ Think about the people you could help with your services and how you can change their lives. If you don’t go for it, they may never be able to get that amazing service. I’ve been listening to the Angie Lee podcast, and she has a few episodes about how not to let imposter syndrome hold you back :)

  3. Thanks, Catherine. Your ideas are so helpful. I guess we “achievers” (I’ve got grad degrees too!) do have the perfectionism thing. I loved Oprah & Brene Brown’s Course a few years ago “Gifts of Imperfection.” Really helpful! I’ve just written a book (50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity & Connection) & I’m doing the marketing myself. I’ve gotten lots of great reviews & the 2018 Indie Excellence Award and STILL my whispered lies tell me “You’re not doing enough” &/or “You’re not doing it right.” Amazing! So, thanks for the reminder: do the next right thing & stay out of the future.
    PS. Check out my blog Maybe I could do a guest post? I’m posting your article (as I’ve done with others) on my site.

  4. Great tips! What works for me is figuring out what’s the smallest step I can take. Big goals are scary and make me feel like I can’t accomplish them. But when I break them down into smaller steps, they’re a lot easier to achieve. And once I do, it’s easier to tackle the next one. :)

  5. Amazing article. It’s really important to take steps in life. When we are so confused in our life we should keep yourself calm and take a decision. Even I was suffering from this. Then I started doing meditation and practices mindfulness. The one can also use app for practicing mindfulness.

  6. Hi Catherine, You have been so helpful in your emails and blogs that I’ve read. I thoroughly receive so much encouragement from you. Thank you for your wisdom, it’s paying off in spades!! I look forward to your emails to see if I can relate and most of the time your are spot-on! Again thank you!

  7. Hi Catherine, thank you for your words of encouragement they are very timely for me. I’ve been working on an online meditation learning centre for a couple or years or so (yes years) and now need to move on to promotion and blogging. I have a blog subject to kick it off and was just sitting in a café today going through it not feeling like it was the ‘perfect’ subject, but like you say it doesn’t have to be perfect. So, I’m going to just blog and see what happens. By the way I made the leap to self-employment a few years ago after being forced into it and wondered what an earth would happen, but it all unfolded well; best thing that ever happened to me! So I can fully empathise with where you are coming from on that. Now I just need to blog, to good standard, not a perfect one! Thanks

  8. Hi Catherine, I love this article! Especially the part about “being ready is a myth”. I tend to put things off because I’m not ready, when in reality I’m scared and want to feel in control. This article is timely and I’m glad you updated it during the pandemic and racial tension that’s been going on. I like the advice about giving yourself “permission to be imperfect”. I have trouble with this myself, again with fear of looking vulnerable and losing control, which are both a myth.

  9. Thanks for writing and posting! I am in the middle of creating my own business and needed to be reminded that it’s okay not to have every detail figured out! Permission is everything!

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