Monday, April 14, 2008

Montag Morgen pep talk

A number of my friends and acquaintances are going through big changes of their own making. After much omphaloskepsis, they have finally concluded that the Nike adds are right: The solution to inertia is "Just do it." They're doing what they've been thinking of doing for some time.

One thing they have in common is they're partly scared to death. This is a normal reaction. They're out of their comfort zone. In his book that changed my outlook, Do It! Let's Get Off Our Buts, Peter McWilliams writes about converting the anxiety into enthusiasm. It's amazingly simple: Recognizing how normal the anxiety is sparks a recognition that you're finally doing something, which turns it into excitement: "I'm doing something! I've started the journey!"

These folks refuse to be afraid. Now wait a minute, I know I just said they're scared to death. But they refuse to let the fear control them, and they convert the out-of-the-comfort-zone fear (even terror) into a positive force.

To all who are making changes and starting journeys, I raise my cup of coffee (a little early for wine and champagne as I write this, but feel free to pour one for yourself) in a toast. It's a cliché to say "The journey is the reward," but dang it, clichés become clichés because they're true.

To all who are still stuck in "I want to do that someday" mode, what are you waiting for? Do one thing today to advance that dream — even a little thing along those lines will create a power surge that will inspire you to do another little thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next thing you know, you're on your way.

One of my favorite stories is about the friend who thought about going to law school at age 58. He told a friend, "If I start today I'll be 61 years old when I get out." His wise friend replied, "Yeah, so? And how old will you be in three years if you don't start today?"

He got the degree. And you can do what you're thinking of doing. Start now.

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