"Oh god, today is the day."
I said to myself first thing when I woke up.
I had been dreading this day, while simultaneously craving it like a kid craves Christmas.
"Please, let this work out, let my words roll correctly, let them understand, help me through this." I prayed as I rolled the covers off and crawled out of bed.
Every morning had become a routine, every movement in muscle memory. I didn't have to cognitively function in the mornings, my body knew my motions for me. I was robotic, I was inhuman, I wasn't analog, I was fully adapted - not fully alive.
There was a twitch within, knowing that today wouldn't be like every other. The "butterflies" in the stomach that I hadn't felt in quite a long time were rustling around like a torrent inside. My hands were shaking as I grabbed my bag and walked out the door.
I reiterated that same previous prayer multiple times on the drive into work, ironically knowing that there are better things to be praying about when going 30mph over the speed limit during a morning commute. I always drive fast, it's one of my faults, but never really like this. For being so nervous my body sure was pulling towards its goal with wild haste. It was like I knew this was for the better, even though every part of me was hurting at the potential repercussions.
- What if this doesn't work out?
- What if I become broke?
- What if I lose my new apartment?
- What if I break every connection I've made over the past 3 years?
- What if this is a decision that I regret in 3, 5, 10 years?
All of these questions were sounding through, but each one yielding the same response from within - it will be fine, you can do this.
I arrived at work, looking for the right car.
"Is he here yet? No, he isn't."
This just made it worse. I will just walk around until he gets here, I can't get started on anything else until I get this out.
Walking to the restroom I see his car pull up and him walk inside. I walk up to his office while he unpacks his laptop on the table.
"Hey man, can we talk?" I say with seriously jittering vocals.
"Yeah, come in. How's it going?"
"Good man, good.. Umm, so there isn't any easy way to say this, but I have to quit." I said, getting straight to the point.
"Oh.. hah, damn. Okay." Pretty much being the response I expected logically but relieved to be as opposed to the response my fear was showing me.
See, I had started this job when I was 19.
This was a chance that I never thought I would have had, even a year prior. Even though I was doing freelance consulting for Fortune 500 companies and other small businesses at 17 I never thought that I would have a job at such an awesome agency at only 19 years old. I was the youngest person in the building by a large margin.
I was now 22, and only 3 years past being hired I had a large number of my own freelance clients, and an opportunity to start building upon my own work with my brother and business partner's agency.
I had put off making the full transition out of fear, out of fake stability, and out of preparation. All of these things true - though ultimately unnecessary.
I was waiting for a "right time" but truthfully there was no "right time" -you simply go when you're ready.
This was something that I had truly started to learn and internalize a year prior when I asked out the love of my life, and things just miraculously started falling together like a serendipitous dream sequence. That too I had prolongued for the longest time out of anxiety and fear, but only to discover that fear is a romantic falacy that we appropriate to create inaction within ourselves, making actions seem as though they have insurmountable odds, so that we don't even try. We feign safety, we remain motionless. With that we create depravity within ourselves, and we limit our own very potential in life.
We have to ride our motivations through this roller coaster we live every day, or suffer from the lack of action just as much as if we were defeated while trying - but with the guilt of having not tried at all.
I hate to put it bluntly, but we only have precious, little time on this earth. This is something that I've learned deeply an innately in the past year.
Stagnating on an idea, or failing to act leads to anxiety, bitterness, and all around angst. We have to let that go, we have to act, we have to move forward. We have to recognize fear for the fantasy that it is, and act logically towards what will make our life, and those around us better in the end-game.
If you procrastinate, you only prolong a state of inactivity. Instead of twiddling your thumbs, wondering "what if" you could be solving the problems that are crippling you with fear.
Foster a love for motion, for acting, for empathizing with the potential problems that could face you, but instead of letting them cripple you, tackle them head on, and progress. This is how to become successful in your own life, by acting on what truly drives you, and not catering to doubt and fear.
In the past year, I've:
- Taken a leap of faith to date my best friend, a girl I've loved for years. We now live together.
- Started building a business that I directly control, and gained a number of incredible clients. I've drastically improved my standard of living, and that of multiple (now) employees.
- Financed a car that I never dreamed I would be able to afford even 2 years ago. I could pay it off entirely within the next 3 months.
- Conquered a life-long fear, and top bucket list item of skydiving. I made it safely to the bottom, kissed my girlfriend, then wrote a post about it that generated enough buzz to grant me the opportunity to become a contributor to The Huffington Post and Adobe's 99U.
- Moved in with my girlfriend, making a massive step in our relationship. We're better than ever, and I get to wake up next to the love of my life every morning.
- Quit my full-time job to pursue my own thing, and build a business with my brother. I now have complete freedom with my time and where I put my efforts, creating a standard of living I could only dream of having 5 years ago.
- Went from hustling every day to learn the most I could about my industry over the past 3 years to now contributing to all of the publications that I once read religiously, consulting people that I've looked up to for years, and I don't have any plans of slowing down.
All of these things were hugely scary, each has an experience to tell, and each has helped me grow tremendously. They were colossal to me, and each one came with a massive amount of anxiety and nerves to conquer.
Each has made my life significantly better, and each one came with its own internal struggle, a nervous twitch that keeps most from acting.
Most importantly though these experiences taught me that the best thing to do when you get that hesitant feeling is to act. Because it's probably exactly what you need.
"A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have." - Tim Ferriss
The true beauty is that it's all small in retrospect.
The wins will be great, the losses won't seem so large, the experiences that come with each battle will be a story you can tell for the rest of your life, and the lessons you learn will make you wiser than you ever were before.
"You can only connect the dots looking back." - Steve Jobs
The more you do, the more you will learn, and the more you know, the more equipped you will be to face everything yet ahead of you.
Get moving, get started. There is no "right time" - what you're waiting for doesn't exist.
Lay out the first steps now, and get started. You'll be happy looking back at how far you've come.
There is never a right moment.
You go when you're ready.