Start Before You're Ready

How many big life changes have you really been ready for, as opposed to a societal “it’s time” kind of pressure? Were you truly ready for college? That face-plant you took in the dorm bathroom after a night out may be an indication. If you’re like me, you left for college when you did because you graduated from high school and it’s just what’s expected when you’re successful in school.

Were you really ready to get married or was it the next step in your relationship after a certain age or amount of time together? My husband, who is an incredible husband and who loves our family more than anything in the world, thought he was ready when he asked but as the wedding date drew nearer his feet got pretty icy. He showed up and married me, thank goodness, but was pretty freaked out.

After being married 5 years, we had our daughter. We were into our 30’s. We were happy and healthy. We were financially stable on my income while he was in school. My biological clock was like one of those cartoon, broken cuckoo clocks, popping out unexpectedly. It “was time”. Even though my husband was in school. Even though we weren’t in the perfect house for a family. We kept reminding ourselves that there would never be a perfect time. So we went for it. And then, like any new parents, we were completely thrown by how much harder it was than we expected.

Now, I can overthink with the best of ‘em. And while I don’t want to encourage blindly taking the next step, as a rule follower it was probably the only way I was going to start before I was ready during the earlier parts of my life. If I had REALLY thought about college, I probably would have freaked out. Instead I just went ahead, learned a lot the hard way, and am now so grateful for the path it created for me. Had my husband taken his cold feet as gospel, it would have been the heartbreak of both our lives. Our daughter wouldn’t be a part of this world. He started before he was ready and it worked out beautifully (after a good bit of work in the beginning). Our daughter is awesome and who knows if it would have been her little soul we’d get if we waited until conditions were perfect.

All this to say, if you look back at your life, you’ll probably find examples of times you started before you were ready and it all worked out. Times it opened up opportunities and experiences that you never would have gotten otherwise.

My biggest “rebellion” was going into practice on my own in a brand new city. On the surface, it would have been more prudent to build a community while working in an agency with a reliable, albeit small, paycheck. But I leapt instead and I never looked back. I was as ready as I thought I could be after consuming as much information as I could find. But like new marriages and new parenting, I had moments when I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I felt lost and afraid and stupid. This is a major side effect of starting before you’re ready so create a game plan and use your cheerleaders. It’s not a sign that you should turn tail and run to the nearest stable paycheck. It’s a normal part of the process and you get through it.

You will never have all the information to be your most successful; you’d be learning for years before launching. The great news is, you don’t need ALL the information, just some of it to be successful. There’s a lot you’ll learn as you go, sometimes painfully and sometimes in the nick of time. Create a plan or join up with one of the many practice-builders like myself if you’re not sure what that plan is supposed to look like.

Most importantly, get out there and do it. It has been really challenging for me to put things out there that aren't perfect. Perfectionism sucks. It stalls you and keeps you from having the life you want as soon as you could. Paralysis sucks, too. Just start. Just do one thing a day if that’s all you can muster. Each small step will add up over time.

You’re never going to be 100% ready. The stars may align and you may be given every opportunity without breaking a sweat, but you’ll still probably have some self-doubt or some fear. Start anyway. You can do this. Prove it to yourself.

What can you start this week?  Let us know in the comments or join the conversation in the Facebook group.


Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.



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