There’s Never a Right Time
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that one of my favorite podcasts comes from Tim Ferriss, curator of all things high performance. He interviews “high performing” people from a huge range of disciplines: sports, the arts, business, the sciences, health and wellness, athletics. His interviews are in depth—sometimes running 2 hours, and sometimes suffering because of his insatiable desire to apply his guests’ knowledge to his own life. But he is charming, curious, and very intelligent. There is a gap in his interests, though; he seems to have virtually no interest in literature or metaphysics (two of my favorite topics), and he very rarely ventures into areas of psychology, and then very cautiously. Still. . . I’m a huge fan.
This week Ferriss posted a really wonderful Q&A with graphic designer and artist Debbie Millman, who he interviewed several months ago. That interview turns out to be one of his most popular podcasts ever, so he brought her back to answer listeners’ questions. If you are at all interested in the creative process, this 45 minute Q&A is worth your time.
Here is one of the highlights for me:
“No amount of money, no amount of security is ever going to give you the sense that this is the right time.”
I so want to encourage myself and my clients to hold on to this idea. If we keep waiting for “the right time” to do something, we might be waiting our whole lives. Is it ever the perfect time to have a baby? go back to school? buy that house you love? take that risk you’re considering? ask that fascinating person you met last week to dinner?
We can come up with a million GOOD reasons to postpone action, can’t we?
But here’s what I’ve learned. It’s important to know that feeling nervous or uncomfortable about a bold move we’re about to make is entirely natural. Our job as creatives is to learn to allow our prefrontal cortex to over-ride this message that comes from the fear center of our brain (the amygdala), whose only task is to keep us right where we are, for our own safety.
But there comes a time when we must move out of what is familiar and into bold, new territory. And feeling a little uneasy about doing this is ENTIRELY NATURAL. (first italics, and now all CAPS—must be important) In fact, such discomfort might better be taken as good evidence that you’re moving forward in your life.
This applies to having that uncomfortable talk you need to have with someone, to speaking your truth, to starting a new business, to quitting a debilitating job, to moving to a new house or town. All change will engender some degree of unease. Sometimes, we can use this unease as a guide to a new place of flourishing.
How long are you willing to keep waiting to have the life you keep pretending you want to have?