JASON ATEN | MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHER

GO

What are you waiting for? 

Really, what are you waiting for?  Can you put words to whatever it is that's keeping you from being what you dream you could be?  Can you identify the things that hold you back as you imagine how to move forward with whatever it is you want to do?

Chances are, you're waiting for one of three things:

FEAR

No, you're probably not waiting for fear - you're probably hoping if you just wait, the fear will go away.  It won't.  In fact, there's a reason you experience fear when standing on the edge of making your ideas happen. It's because fear is the signal that you're about to leave your comfort zone.  It's the affirmation that you're about to do something you haven't done before.  If there was no fear, would whatever you're dreaming about doing - really be worth it?  If there's nothing different about where you're headed - aren't you just wasting time?

Fear is the feedback cycle that tells you that you're attempting something you've never done - and isn't that the point?  The fear won't go away.  In fact, my experience has been that the longer I wait, the more the fear grows.  And while some amount of fear is a useful signal, allowing it to grow can be paralyzing.  That paralyzing fear is the reason that most of us just live our lives without ever doing anything exceptional.  Sure, we have ideas, but we spend most of our potential waiting for the fear to go away.  In fact, instead of just waiting, we actually spend more energy hoping that fear will go away - rather than focusing our efforts on our idea.  By the time we get past the fear (if we ever do), we have nothing left for our idea.

SOMEONE ELSE

If you're like almost everyone else who ever had an idea, you want to see your idea come to life.  You want to see it nurtured, see it grow, and see it flourish.  You want all of that, but deep down - what you really want is for someone else to make it happen.  You're waiting for someone else to clear the obstacles, remove the barriers, and assume all of the risk.  And so you're waiting.

Here's the thing - it is your idea.  It's your passion.  It's your calling.  There's a reason this idea started as a tinge.  It began in you, as a brief "what if," and it's in you that it grew roots.  There's a reason it began to grow, and expand, and resonate - within you.  And if there's a reason - why on earth would you wait for someone else?  Maybe someone else has a similar idea, and they're waiting for you...

I can't even begin to count the number of ideas I've had, that never made it in to this world, simply because I'm waiting for someone else to do something.  When that happens, we all lose.  We lose an idea, because I was hoping someone else would have the idea and do something.

On a side note, the irony is, when someone else DOES do something with an idea similar to ours, we often end up bitter and resentful.  "Hey, that was my idea!" we tell ourselves, as if we are somehow entitled to be the sole being with a claim to "our" idea.  Never mind that we never bothered to do anything - we were waiting for someone else.  We were waiting for someone to do something - and they did.  And now, we're somehow surprised that we don't get credit for it.

PERFECTION

Finally, many of us are simply waiting until we have it all "figured out."  We don't want to share our idea with the world until we have it "just right."  And so, we wait.  We wait for things to work themselves out, until the idea is fleshed out, until the edges are perfectly refined, and the plan complete.  Even if we're inching forward, we're still waiting.  

In reality, most ideas don't reach their maximum impact until they've been refined by rubbing up against other ideas.  They don't mature without exposure to other perspectives, and they don't often succeed without frequent encounters with failure.  If we're waiting until our idea is "perfected," the truth is - it never will be.  Nothing great was ever sprung on the world.  Nothing is ever perfect in v1.0. 

I love how Seth Godin puts it: "One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen." 

If you never shine light on your idea, for the world to share, what's the point of your "perfect" idea?