For so long I identified with being a "Reluctant Hero." Life threw me curveballs, and I'd hit home runs. That worked well except for one fundamental problem…
In order to thrive, I had to be put through difficult tests. I hadn't developed the capacity to forge ahead in life fiercelessly. I was always waiting for external circumstances to force me to change.
And they did.
There was literally a major event that had to happen before I could know what it meant to truly live. I had to be severely betrayed and traumatized to understand the real risks of reluctance.
Until that incident, I didn't realize that my reluctance was costing me my life. I held myself back in almost every way.
Nobody could see it from the outside. I was succeeding like I always did. It seemed like anything I touched turned to gold. Outside, everybody saw the hero. Inside though, I was dying a slow death.
My true potential was withering away. Reluctance was costing me happiness and my well-being. Unconsciously, I was scared that if I went for what I really wanted, I would be crushed if I didn't get it. In relationships, I settled for the tattered remains of broken hearts because it felt safer than the risk of a painful rejection.
The thing is, I didn't realize how much of my reluctance had nothing to do with others and everything to do with myself. When we get right down to it, most reluctance is a cover for how we reject our inner experiences.
What we do is identify with our limited ways of being. By holding onto the familiar state of reluctance, we quietly reject our incredible potential. In most situations, hiding behind our reluctance feels safer than possibly opening up the pain of old wounds, and even scarier, taking risks that could give us new ones. The reluctance prevents us from making the necessary changes we need to live a fulfilling life.
The thing is, there's never going to be a better time to make changes than now.
"Sometime" is never going to come as long as you're waiting for something outside of yourself to happen.
Harriet Beecher Stowe supposedly wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin with just 10 minutes a day. Chris Gardner was homeless and shirtless when he showed up for an interview at a prestigious investment firm. And neither of those people sat and waited for life to happen to them. They engaged their dreams while living their very full and challenging lives. They also did it one step at a time.
You can too.
The key is to break your reluctance down into such small steps that it takes more effort for you to stand still than it does for you to take action.
Here's a quick 4-step process you can use to make this happen:
Next time you find yourself thinking, "if only" or "I will do it after this other thing happens," write down exactly what it is you want and what you're expecting to happen before you can have what you want.
For each item you listed, write down why you as many ways you can think of that it might be possible, even if "the other thing" you're waiting for never happens.
Look at your list and find the easiest or fastest thing you can do. Then go do it.
- Repeat step 3 as much as you can.
By following this simple process, you'll force your mind into a creative problem-solving action mindset. You'll also create momentum that will progressively reprogram your mind to take action proactively.