We all procrastinate. Hell, just this morning I delayed my workout for 2 hours because I just couldn’t bring myself to do it before all the coffee had kicked in. Those little choices we make every day to push aside to-do items and push ahead deadlines can wreak havoc on our productivity. And, over time, can delay our success levels in a big way.
But I’m not talking about the little stuff. I’m talking about procrastinating the BIG STUFF. Not the daily workout, but making your health a priority. Not getting to everything on your to-do list today, but deciding what you want your life to look like in 3 years.
This month I turn 47. All those times my parents told me to enjoy every minute because it all goes by in a blink? Yep, they were right about that one, too.
And I’ve enjoyed most of it. Minus a few awful relationships I shouldn’t have been in and jobs I shouldn’t have taken. And minus that period in my 20s when I had absolutely no clue who I was and what I was meant to do.
When I think about the biggest highlights so far, they seem to revolve around the choices I’ve made (or have been made for me) that led me to something new and scary before I thought I was ready.
I could’ve waited longer to leave the practice of law, hoping it got better or more fulfilling or somehow I would magically morph into the kind of person who would love a career as a litigator. Instead, I did the scary thing and walked away and into a new career and a new city where I had no contacts and no clue what was ahead.
Our first son Nate came much earlier than planned, the product of a “make up session” from one of our biggest fights ever. Was I ready to be a mom? Was John out of med school yet? Did this fit our plan? No, No and Hell No. I was terrified, but that little nugget ended up coming at the perfect time, making me grow and stretch as a human and learn a whole new level of love.
Then there was starting my own direct sales business. I could’ve easily said it was a horrible time to add something to my very full plate (a baby, a toddler, a full PR client roster, community volunteering, trying to lose baby weight). But I got a bigger plate and, as they say, the rest is history.
And intellectually it probably appeared like a horrible time for me to write my book. Our business was exploding, the kids were getting busier with extra-curricular activities, I was getting busier with volunteering and philanthropy, and we were going to be spending a month traveling around Australia. But I did it anyway.
It would’ve been really easy for me to say to myself at all of these crossroads, “The timing isn’t right. This can’t happen now.”
To be honest, I did say that to myself, every single time. My answer is what made all the difference, “There’s never a perfect time for anything.” Followed by a “And really, what the hell are you waiting for?”
I love what Brené Brown wrote in her book Wholehearted: “Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you ‘I’m not f-ing around, use the gifts you were given.’”
I’m grateful that it didn’t take me to mid-life to stop f-ing around and get to the gifts I was given and to do the things that I wanted. Yet with each passing year, I’m f-ging around less and less, saying No more and more and unapologetically pursuing the endeavors that I know will allow me to serve others while also lighting up my soul.
If you’re procrastinating the BIG STUFF, it’s time you asked yourself what the hell you’re waiting for. If you have the courage to dig deep enough, I bet you a big slice of gluten-free birthday cake that at the root of your hesitation is fear. Maybe fear that you don’t have enough time. But more likely fear that you can’t do it, you won’t be good enough, you’ll be judged, you don’t have what it takes or you aren’t worthy. I know, because I’ve asked myself all of these and more.
Here’s what I know as I stare down 47 candles and countless lessons learned: It’s always the perfect time to go after what we really want.
As I blow out my candles, here’s my wish for YOU: On your next birthday you’ll be able to reflect on the past year and declare, “That was the age I stopped procrastinating the BIG STUFF.”
It’s about f-ing time.