So often we put our plans on hold. Our dreams on hold. Our creative impulses on hold. Our lives on hold. ‘Until I practice more’, ‘Until I loose a few more pounds’, ‘Until it is perfect’, ‘Until I am ready’, ‘Until they say I am ready’.
Until is a dangerous word.
Most of the time I don’t feel ready. I usually wish I had more time to practice. Most of the time it doesn’t feel quite good enough. I always want to loose those few pounds. I don’t actually know who ‘they’ are. But I am tired of waiting until.
I have found that ‘until’ actually stifles creative energy and clogs us up until something in us needs to burst, and sometimes it bursts in destructive ways. To even hold the energy of ‘until’ takes energy. It takes energy not to create and dream. It takes energy wishing those pounds away. And it takes so much time waiting for the right time.
I learned a very big lesson about ‘until’ last week. For several years I have been thinking of teaching online. I looked a LOTS of different courses. I did some. I thought about structure and format. I over thought about structure and format. I looked at more courses. I got overwhelmed with it all. ‘Until I have more subscribers, until my new site is ready, until I feel I am ready’ Until, until, until. A few years passed (yes, years).
This year however I knew it was time to take a leap. When designing my new website, a space was incorporated for online learning. I had courses in mind and a rough sense of how to get them out into the world. But I did not feel quite ready. Additionally, with all the comings and goings this year, by the end of July I had a deep sense of needing to step away from a screen in order to recalibrate. A holiday was being called out. The break was needed and wonderful but when I got back home it left me with little time to launch and promote the course. It was just a week to go before the date I had originally announced. Was I mad? All the advice had said I needed six weeks…
‘Ah maybe I will wait until December’
‘Maybe I will wait until more people have signed up to my newsletter’
‘Perhaps I will just hold off until I feel there is more time to prepare’
Until was back, dangling what could be easily seen as procrastination or laziness right in front of my face. I was so close to not continuing. The night before I was launching it, I was so so so nearly pulling it. Until was teasing me with ugly excuses.
Luckily something within begged me to knock on the door of until, asking was it was trying to tell me. I knew I had been thinking about this for a long time, and I knew that teaching is a big part of my business plan moving forwards. When I questioned ‘until’ two things popped. Firstly, I realised I was afraid that the technology for the online teaching wouldn’t work for me, but mostly I was afraid that nobody would sign up. Fear. That was it. Big, juicy, daunting fear. ‘Until’ had simply masked itself.
When I saw ‘until’ for what it was, I knew I had to leap and pull off its mask. It was indeed time to put the course out there and show up to the work. If no one signed up to the course, at least I had tried.
The leap is leverage.
And guess what, people did sign up. Not in droves but enough that it felt like a healthy contingent and a brilliant start. There were people living in Ireland, USA, The Netherlands, UK, and even as far away as Tazmania. How amazing is that! Plus I loved the experience. I loved creating the videos and audio recordings. I loved reading responses and connecting with participants and seeing them connect with each other. Here was a space, carved on the internet, for people to connect to themselves, their visions, build new skills and engage with others. What a privilege for me to get to do this work.
‘Until’ would have extinguished all of that.
The leap has fueled me with added determination and a relief that I knocked on that door. Now I just need to keep knocking, keep listening and keep showing up to the work. For the work wants life, and life needs life to live through.
So what are you waiting for? Where is until in your life? And what is it really saying?
Knock on its door… I suspect you will get an interesting, leveraging, response.