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How to Become Ready for Anything

Updated: Apr 10


I've been pondering this idea lately that a lot of people I admire say:

"Start before you're ready."

It's a wonderful platitude, very pithy, but what does it actually mean, and how can you apply it?

When very smart, successful people say, "Start before you're ready" what they mean is, "Start before you feel comfortable."

It's impossible to feel the kind of confidence and inherent comfort you get from practicing and doing something for a long time if you've never done it before.

This makes perfect sense.

What doesn't make sense is starting before you feel prepared and committed.

This has always been the sticking point for me as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

One of the hallmarks of a HSP is that we look first before we leap. We are action-takers, but we don't dive into things head first and hope things will work out.

HSPs excel at weighing options, looking at what other people are doing, wrapping our heads around a few possibilities, and then wading into something new feeling pretty competent before we get started.

There are some perks to that deep processing we tend to do about e'rything.

Most HSPs I know (including myself) may simmer on something WAY longer than other people think we should. But when we do leap, we make serious progress, fast.

What really matters is not making yourself feel comfortable but rather helping yourself feel committed and prepared enough to make the leap without endlessly looping on how to do it "right" or "best."

Here are 3 ways to help yourself feel "ready" so you can tackle any new thing without being paralyzed by fear and indecision:

1) Commit to learning and experimenting

A hallmark of having high sensitivity is that we LOVE to learn new things.

We crave topics that feel rich and deep to us so we can dig in, learn lots of perspectives, and constantly find new insights and nuances.

I have loved dance since I was a little kid, and any styles are endlessly fascinating to me.

One year for Christmas, my fiancé, Marque, got us a Groupon ballroom dance package so we could learn some ballroom dance together.

This is one of my all-time favorite gifts.

We went to salsa classes once a week, and since we were already in the studio, we stayed for the other styles that were taught right after salsa - rumba, cha cha, East Coast swing, you name it!

Salsa was our gateway, and we were excited to learn new styles that came after. The more styles we learned, the better we became overall.

If you think back to anything new you've learned - a new sport, a crafty skill, or even a new kind of relationship, like parenthood! - there are endless ways to go about doing the thing.

You probably looked for a way that made sense to you, learned the basics, then started to refine your knowledge or your technique by looking at paths other people were taking.

You were ready to dive in because you took that love of learning you find so easy and fun and went into the new situation excited to learn and try new things.

When you put a ton of pressure on yourself to be the best right away, or to only do things you already know how to do, you're going to get stuck in analysis paralysis.

Commit to the process. The journey is the whole point, not the destination.

2) Do what you need to do to feel prepared

There are as many ways to prepare for something as there are people under the sun.

You could:

  • read a bunch of books and articles

  • listen to podcasts

  • talk to people who have done the thing you want to do

  • find a free sample or cheap version to practice

  • join a community of people who will hold you accountable

  • hire a coach or an expert to teach you

Knowing you have high sensitivity, you'll probably do a combination of all of these things, depending on the things you're learning. That's wonderful!

The key is to DECIDE what you're going to do to prepare and when you're done with preparation.

What do you need to do to get started, and how will you get there?

It's easy (and tempting, SO tempting) to stay in research mode forever.

Learning is fun and easy for you, so in an effort to stay comfortable, you don't let yourself feel prepared.

Decide, in advance, how much preparation you need, and then don't go beyond the point of diminishing returns.

This could be:

  • knowing the time and financial costs it would take to do the thing

  • learning the basic techniques and / or terminology

  • translating something you already know how to do into this new context

  • finding a friend or group to keep you motivated

  • hiring someone to train you and teach you the ropes fast

Once you know the basics of what you need to feel prepared, it's time to make the leap.

Going back to my ballroom dance example, I learned a new skill I LOVE because I had someone to do it with me, a beginner's class for people with zero previous experience, and an inexpensive package of classes to make it a no-brainer to keep showing up week after week.

If I had endlessly searched for the perfect class and done every YouTube tutorial online, we might NEVER have made it into the dance studio.

If I had gone alone the first time, I would have been way too shy and intimidated to dance with a stranger.

Know yourself and look for ways to bypass your blocks so you can make the process easy and fun.

Feeling prepared often means knowing what baby steps to take.

3) Find ways to stretch your comfort zone

Many people feel comfortable diving into things and figuring them out as they go, not knowing anything before they get started.

Maybe that feels exhilarating and fun to some, but for most people with high sensitivity, diving in head first is the quickest way to make us freeze up or run back to our couch to turn on Netflix.

You will definitely be uncomfortable at times as you learn and practice new things. That's part of the game.

But knowing how much discomfort you can take while still moving forward is the sweet spot to becoming "ready."

Maybe you:

  • watch a YouTube video or do an online class before you dive into a group environment with people who somehow look effortless and poised (I'm looking at you yoga class with people who somehow don't sweat!).

  • find a friend to try something with you for the first time. I've been known to keep someone on the phone with me on the way to something new just for the company and moral support.

  • come up with an action plan (and an escape route?) for any fears that might be coming up.

  • hire a private instructor or coach so you get individual attention from someone who's focused on you and your learning process the whole time.

Starting out as beginners gave me and Marque an easy way to try something completely new.

As we learned the basics of ballroom dancing, the intermediate classes suddenly became a lot more doable.

We learned so many cool techniques by slowly building up our skills, and I have to say, it's really fun at weddings to show off our fancy turns and styles.

We didn't hop into the intermediate classes right away. We did the beginner's classes together and then worked our way up.

After that, we started taking private lessons with our amazing instructor to really build our skills and get personalized help to get better.

Whatever you need to do to stretch yourself a little bit but not go overboard, do it!

The comfort part of readiness only comes from taking action... and then taking action again and again.

Once you're committed to learning, prepared enough to get started, and taking small steps each time, suddenly you find you've been "ready" all along.

Was this article helpful in thinking about things a new way?

If you like what you're reading and want that focused, individual attention to help you feel ready for something new, book a free consultation with me. This call alone could be enough to help you get started on your new path.

Big, warm vibes,

<3 Steph

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