Do you find it easier in retirement to sit back, not ruffle any feathers, be ok with the status quo? This can be in your work, your relationships or in the day-to-day energy needed for any accomplishment. To complete a goal, we need courage when obstacles stand in the way, and guts to leave the comfort zone.
At age 68 I wrote a book about happiness. It came together easily and reflected what I really felt in my heart. At first, I found the book generated interest without really working at it. People are really looking for “everyday happiness.” This type of happiness is not the mountaintop type that comes on your wedding day or the day you gave birth to a healthy baby.
“Everyday happiness” comes from finding the joy and peace in the everyday regular life stuff. As soon as it was published, I was asked to have a book signing, then received an invitation to join a pop-up sale, and someone forwarded my information to a popular podcaster who had me on her show to talk about the book.
Not only that, but the book – my book! – was also carried in two local bookstores as well as two huge on-line bookstores. Then everything stopped. For whatever reason it came grinding to a screeching halt. One local bookstore in my city asked me to pick up the inventory, as the book was not selling. Other opportunities weren’t falling at my feet like at the beginning.
Now I could see that promotional work and marketing were needed to let my target audience know the book existed. I admit that I have a very negative reaction to getting out of my comfort zone to do marketing! Now, more than before, I need guts to move forward. Stopping, letting the status quo take over, and sitting back will not let people know my happiness book is available.
Can you relate to this when thinking of one of your goals or dreams? What you need is guts. In this context, the word guts means courage or bravery to step outside our comfort zone to accomplish something.
Your situation may be much more severe than marketing a book. Maybe you need to apply for work at age 68, or you are making decisions on moving from your home, or finding your way after your spouse has passed away. Where do we find this type of push (the guts needed to move ahead)?
My inner dialogue scares me sometimes. I can scare myself with negative thoughts about marketing. Could the book be too small or too big, or not complicated enough, or overpriced. Wait, could it be underpriced? Does the cover attract interest? Does the topic encourage? Is it too simple? This type of thinking paralyzes and keeps me in the comfort of my home, basically not doing anything at all.
Are you experiencing a loop of questions, spinning your head in circles like I am? Stop the thoughts. One way to do this is to write the thought down on paper. Then, in a column next to it, write the exact opposite.
For instance, “Is my book too simple?” The opposite would be, “My book is perfect for someone who needs a reminder of simple steps to take.” Remember, the scary thought and the opposite could both be true! When the scary one surfaces, try to counter it with the positive, gutsier one. Why should we give those scary thoughts all the attention?
What action could you take in the situation you are avoiding? Remember to take baby steps. In my case, I’m not going to 5 bookstores in a day and asking the owners to look it over. That thought makes me want to pull the covers over my head!
I will start with one bookstore! I try to imagine myself with confidence, discussing my book with a bookstore owner. It really pays to practice imagining yourself being gutsy in the comfort of your recliner before you begin. Picture yourself completing a baby step with confidence, strength, or courage!
If someone knows I’m struggling with my courage, and I let them know my deadline to do the scary thing, it’s enough to propel me forward. My friend and I have done this on many levels. Right now, she is needing the guts to open her storeroom closet and clean out a couple of bags in there. Procrastination had taken over.
We discussed how she could start, put a deadline on completing one bag, and then checked in with each other around that deadline. She was happy to report that she conquered this first step and is now on to the second bag that needs her attention. Accountability is helpful to give that first nudge to action.
“Behind every gutsy superstar in life are the small steps of their journey, their quiet perseverance, their commitment to practice, and their ultimate belief that they are meant to be successful.”—Robyn Benincasa
Well, it can sure feel that way when you don’t take action to step outside the comfort of your recliner to do it. Nagging failure thoughts keep you stuck. If you fail to begin, try another start at it. It’s helpful to break down the goal into something more manageable. Get support from a friend or spouse. Set a time (or a timer) and try again.
Inaction can breed more inaction. Small manageable progress will encourage you to take one more step. Keep believing in yourself. You can move forward in 2024 to accomplish a goal, no matter how small the steps are.
What I mean here is go ahead and admit the fear, the inaction, and the procrastination. After admitting it, talk to yourself. Ask yourself, is it really that bad? Challenge your reason for why you haven’t moved forward toward your goal. Remind yourself of why you want to accomplish the goal. Think about the outcome you are shooting for.
It’s ok to be afraid of something that doesn’t come naturally. Tell yourself the truth. This kind of talk helps me diminish inaction and fear, then find the guts to move forward to accomplish it.
Try these simple steps to gather guts to progress toward your 2024 goal.
(PS. I approached a small local bookstore about carrying my book. The owner said yes!)
Can you share what you’re struggling with right now that requires guts to accomplish? What has helped you get off the recliner and take a baby step toward it? Can you add something to my thoughts to help others find the guts to move forward?