“Sometimes if the direction you’re about to move feels “right” in your head and heart, yet the first few steps look pretty daunting, not fun, and maybe even scary, you should take those first few steps anyway and get ’em over with.” – Mike Dooley
You know, logic is a wonderful thing. I’m a Virgo so I’m about as logical as they come. In fact, I took an assessment at work and was asked the question by the HR Director “Do you find it hard to make friends because I have never met a woman so left-brained.” So, I think I’m well-qualified to continue with today’s blog post. I don’t make a single move without researching it first on the internet. And, at times, this has been my downfall.
So many people suffer from “Paralysis from Analysis” when it comes to logic and doing what they know they should do. Paralysis from Analysis is when one analyzes a situation so much one stops oneself from ever taking any action. They find themselves too busy making lists of the pros and cons; building out a five year plan; sitting in meetings discussing what should be done instead of getting out there and doing it. We’ve been given the gift of logic so that we can protect ourselves from danger and demise. I’m all for logic and using your brain. Gosh. Am I ever!!! But should logic win over every time?
Take this case in hand: A man I know once found himself in the place he’d always wanted to be. He had a job teaching music twenty hours a week and playing with a great band on the weekends. He had worked in odd jobs for years and found he was finally able to make enough money to live by simply doing what he loved more than anything: Play music. Then he met this woman who lived two hours away. She was a bit emotional, a bit vulnerable, a bit chubby even. Her father was dying of cancer and she found that making the trip to this man on the weekends seemed to be getting more and more difficult. It was emotionally and physically taxing on the relationship. So, the man quits his job, tells the band goodbye, sells pretty much all he owns and moves north to a new state to be with her. His friends thought he was nuts. His family shook their head in dismay (some still think he’s crazy…) but three years later, with no hope of finding a decent job in this economy in a city with 1,000 music instructors and twice that many bands, he remarked just the other day “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life.”
I moved back ‘home’ from the northeast. I quit a job that paid me $65,000 a year where I was almost certain I was about to get promoted. I sold most of what I owned, moved into a little 400 square foot apartment where no one out of college should live, filed for divorce from a 14 year marriage…and placed an online dating ad that resulted in meeting a man who lived two hours away. A musician, even. Wow. I’m the other half of that couple and I can tell you with all conviction “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life”, too. In the beginning, if we had followed logic…and a few pieces of advice from our friends and family…we’d be living separate lives right at this moment. I’m so glad I embraced the scary and took those first, un-fun, daunting steps. And I’m sure our son, who will be born in October, will be pleased we did, too.
I have another friend who complained for years about how her life was going nowhere and she couldn’t meet anyone who wasn’t either crazy, married, or both. She had an excellent job, a beautiful condo and a great personality. But she always seemed so miserable. Then she tells me over coffee and a lavender scone one day in the middle of a small café in Connecticut… “I’m leaving. I put my notice in at work and I’m going on a month long backpacking trip.” (This from a fellow Virgo, even!! In fact, our birthdays are just one day apart, so I totally get her.) I thought she was crazy. And, in my not-so-subtle virgo way, I told her that. I’m so thankful she didn’t listen to me. She learned so much about herself she turned around and went on another trip. On her second backpacking trip she met a very cute, very funny younger man from Australia. They are now married with a gorgeous, one year old daughter living happily in Aussie-ville. She blogs about how broke they are and how hard it was to adjust to life outside the United States…but gosh…if you could see the photos she posts on Facebook, you’d see that my friend looks more beautiful and more happy than she has ever looked in her entire life.
I’m not saying be stupid. There’s a difference between stupid and following your heart. Marrying the man of your dreams because you believe it’s right is following your heart. Getting a ten inch tattoo on your back that reads “Property of ‘that man’s name’ “ even after you’ve realized he isn’t quite the man of your dreams…stupid. Quitting your job in hopes of finding true love is following your heart. Quitting your job because you are desperate and afraid to be alone – stupid. Going back to school to get a teaching degree because you love to watch the excitement in the eyes of children as they learn despite the fact that your current job pays you $70K and a teaching job starts out at half that…Good! Going back to school to get a MBA in hopes that you’ll get a promotion so you can be saved from doing this awful job you have now…Bad. Get the point?
John Lennon once wrote:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘Happy!’ They said I didn’t understand the assignment. I said they didn’t understand life.”
Is there something you have not done because it seems too daunting? Too scary? Not fun at all at first? Then that something may be just what you need to do. Take one action every day get to where you’d like to be. You don’t have to eat the entire elephant in one sitting. Baby steps. Baby steps.