Something I am noticing lately is how so many of us fall victim to the waiting trap. This is very common especially among us ‘go with the flow’, ‘take life as it comes’, ‘laid back’ types. We pride ourselves on being very thoughtful and reflective and not impulsive or overzealous when it comes to making a decision, especially the life-changing ones. But could our rather passive approach to life be one of the main things that hold us back from having what we truly want? How many times have we strongly desired change in our lives; a new job, more money, to start a business, to take a class, to get more clients, only to find that months or even years later, we’re stuck in the same problem?
Someone many years ago once told me that the reason why I don’t have what I want is because I hadn’t fully committed to it. I was still on the fence, still “figuring things out”, waiting for something to change while not actively going after it. Or even when I did take action, my level of commitment was not consistent and I would eventually fall back into old patterns. Can anyone relate?
A few days ago, the year change and I know many of you set new goals, new intentions, and new promises for yourselves. But the truth is, a year from now, many of us will find ourselves in the same situation. Even with our good intentions for change, only a fraction, just 8%, will actually achieve what we set out to do this year.
What is really going on here?
Here’s the thing. When it comes to making change, deep down we fear it. We fear that if we actually take control and become active in pursuing the things we want, we might actually get it. And that scares us to death. As humans, we are already frightened by the idea of change. We crave comfort and predictability in our routine and environment, so daring to make changes rings the alarm of discomfort and risk.
So for most of us, to avoid making change we enter ourselves into the trap of Waiting. Waiting is passive. It is an energy that keeps us stagnant, stale, and locked into a holding pattern that looks a lot like our comfort zones. Our tendency to wait things out is oftentimes fueled by fear.
Waiting can show up as:
Waiting can rob us of joy, happiness, fulfillment. It keeps us stuck and feeling powerless. Waiting can often manifest itself in sneaky ways. In Beth Grant’s ebook, The 4 States of Being, she coined the term the Passive Yes as something we use to stay in Waiting. This is when you pretend to take action but you’re not really all in. An example can be for someone that claims they want to start their own business, signs up for a seminar or workshop but doesn’t show up or do the exercises. Another example, that same aspiring entrepreneur would claim they don’t have the time or money to work on their goals. We can be really effective at keeping ourselves busy with other things that we claim are important or necessary but really just serve as distractions to what we truly want.
For those of us who are researchers, seekers, and over-analyzers, this mind trick can keep us in a perpetual state of Waiting. We search for answers and evidence before making a decision or taking action that only overwhelm us and keep us stuck as we entertain many possibilities.
So what is the alternative?
It’s important to recognize what Waiting truly is, a manifestation of fear. Sometimes that’s all it takes is acknowledging when you find yourself procrastinating or locked in indecision. Asking yourself, what is really going on here? You’ll find that the thought behind it is usually that something scary is going to happen for me if I make this change and move forward.
Listen to your fear, understand where it is coming from. Often the thing we most fear, that worst case scenario, very rarely manifests the way we think it would. Most times, it’s all in our heads.
What would happen if you stayed stuck waiting for something to change? How would you feel if it was a year from now and nothing has changed? How important is it to you to move forward?
Enlist help and support as you work through this. Partner with someone who will not hold you back and commiserate with you but will empower and hold you accountable to take action.
When you take action, and this is very important, make sure it is an action that gets you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a super huge action that terrifies you but it does have to make you feel a little uncomfortable. If it does, it’s a pretty good sign that it’s the right move.
Now it’s your turn. Ready to get out of Waiting?