“Great people do things before they are ready.”
I have used various versions of that quote before I discovered, just now, that it was from Amy Poehler. That pleases me for some reason. If anyone could inspire you to take a risk and go for it, somehow she seems the best choice.
I’m writing this post from Minneapolis, Minnesota. For those paying attention, you’ll know this is an accomplishment. By the time you read this I will be spending my first full day in the city. By the time you read this I might even have a job. *fingers crossed*Coming here was a desire I’ve had for a while. For this place, specifically, but the desire itself goes even farther back, to before Atlanta.
I’ve written before that one of the main reasons I moved to Atlanta is because I’ve never done it before. Most of the people I know or have met have a story of moving to another place, a new city, for college, or work, or just because. It felt like a rite of passage for adulthood to have experienced a new place all on your own. It was an experience I didn’t have, and one I wanted.
Then Atlanta happened. Then I found myself in West Point, NY, a place I had not lived before, but with my family, so familiar and unfamiliar. You’d imagine that I might be ready to go back, I might be ready to go all the way back even. After Atlanta, after how it ended, after everything, and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that wished I could.
But there was another part of me, too.
I used to be a homebody. Atlanta cured me of that. But I still wasn’t sure if I was ready to be an adventurer. After everything, it didn’t feel like my calling, it didn’t feel like I had it in me.
To be clear, I’m still not sure, but that’s what this is all about. Doing things when you’re unsure. When you’re not ready.
I’m starting to think we have all, collectively, been fed a line about confidence. We’ve been told that people who do great things know they can do them, that they do them because they are sure they will succeed. Thus, when we are challenged to do something great, when we find ourselves in a situation that would require us to do great things in order to succeed, we search ourselves to find the confidence we think we need in order to even try. Only we don’t find it. Instead, we find the same self-doubt we’ve always had.
And for some, that’s the end of the story. We see we are missing what we think is the critical element, and so we don’t even try, because how could we possibly succeed? For others, though, it’s the beginning. They do it anyway, go anyway, try anyway, and what do they discover?
“Great people do things before they’re ready.”
That’s the truth. The reality behind the façade we’ve all been sold for some reason. No one is truly ready. No one is ever 100% confident before going into any great endeavor. They just did it anyway.
Because that’s how you get things done. That’s how you do the things you aren’t sure you can do. You do them anyways. Because if you were sure, you’d have done it already. If we were sure, it wouldn’t be a challenge. The challenge is in the unknown, and we will never be sure of the unknown, because if we were… Well, you get the idea.
So, here I am. Where I want to be. And I’m not ready. I’m excited, but I’m also terrified. I’m eager to get started and overwhelmed by the task in front of me. I’m not ready. And maybe I am making it up as I go, but you know what? So is everyone else.
Maybe that’s faith. Driving through the night when you can only see as far as your headlights. Doing the next good thing you can because it’s the only thing you can do. Trusting that ever mile is bringing you closer to your destination and every good thing is building towards the thing you want.
Because we’ll never be ready for what life brings us, even the good things, but the good news is, we can still get them even though we aren’t.