Is there such thing as the perfect timing? And perfect timing for what exactly? I have these memories of being in middle school and fantasizing about our future together with my best friends. Alongside this picture, lay hidden the belief that there was an invisible timeline keeping up our biggest achievements in a kind of perfect frame.
We would go to college right after high school, graduate in four or five years, land the perfect job. Meantime, we would meet our soul mate, move in together, and later we would get married and have kids. All the above while keeping a close friendship. Give or take one or two details, this was the overall frame of the future picture, each phase unfolding at the perfect time.
Not only we did not all stay in touch throughout these 15 years as this picture did not quite fit to most of us after all. For some, college did not happen though they found a fulfilling job. For others, there were needed a myriad of jobs until landing one fitting the desired criteria, while others connected with their purpose through something else than work. Some of us got married and had kids, others are still enjoying the wonderous of single life.
Moral of the story, life goes on, goals are still achieved, joy is still felt even without a perfect plan. Even when events do not occur within the perfect timeline. How come then are we so attached to the idea of perfect timing? Isn’t it this construct holding us hostages of our own potential, instead of propelling us toward bold action?
Let us consider the 4 points below to help you let go of the idea of right timing and grab the time you have right now.
1. Put a stop to excuses: Tough one, I know! Especially due to our tendency to see our excuses as obvious justifications of our non-action. Do you want the harsh truth?! Everyone has their own problems to deal with, obstacles getting in the way, poor night sleeps, motivational ups and downs. There are still those who go for it and reach their goals anyway. It is not about who gets to finish line first; life is not a race. There will be days when energy runs higher and progress feels smoother, as well as other days when all you want to do is quit. Is quitting on yourself a good strategy though? Think about how many times you have put off something you need to do. Perhaps it is sending an email to your yoga teacher, calling a friend, reorganize your closet, clean you garage. Stop making excuses and just do it. This mindset applies both to small tasks as well as to your biggest projects and goals. The sooner you realize you have the power of action, the faster you will put a stop to excuses and the more inspired you will feel to progress toward your goals.
2. Stop wasting time: Almost immediately after you put a stop to excuses, you will realize that time is the most precious thing you own (in case you haven’t realized it yet!). Good news is that when you no longer make excuses, all the time previously filled in with worry and dissatisfaction is now available. Make sure you use it wisely though, avoiding falling into the same trap once more. It is curious how many people say they have no time for anything, considering the usage they indeed do of their time. You can refer to the recent article where we addressed specific strategies for time management (see here). Bottom line look closely at your daily schedule and identify how many of those activities you could scratch from your agenda. Yes, I am sure you will say in a first glance that everything you have in there is a priority. Is it though? Priority for whom? How is it enabling you to achieve your goals? Stop wasting your time and you will get the time you need to do what feels right, instead of waiting for the right time.
3. Do not ask for permission: Is it your life we are talking about here! You are not a 5-year old about to ask their parents for money to buy an ice cream to eat before dinner. Sounds harsh, I know. Again, responsibility and accountability are important elements of being an adult and taking your own decisions. You do not need anyone to tell you that it is the right time to take that step forward into your career or in your relationship. You do not need others’ permission to quit your job and go all-in into starting your own business. Same way that you are figuring out your next steps, others are doing the same. How will they have a better idea of the right time for you to do something about your life? They may have expertise, experiences, learnings to share which should be more than welcome. Apart from it, you are in the driving seat equipped with all you need to take a step forward.
4. Face your fears: We tell ourselves this story on how it is better to wait for the right time often due to fear. We do not feel ready to face what we fear the most, so we keep deferring our decisions and actions in the hope of feeling less afraid or more courageous. The thing about fear is that it tends to grow stronger, the more you avoid it. It keeps growing until it leaves you sometimes paralyzed, stuck in your own self-doubt. Again, there is no right time to face your fears though do it sooner rather than later would be recommended. Going hand in hand with the above-mentioned point, your fears are not asking for your permission to terrorize you and preventing you from taking action. Meaning, do not ask for their permission to rise above and regain your power by conquering them. I get it, some of your fears are scary and real! Though whatever definition of perfect timing you have, it will not make them shrink when the time for actions comes. When facing your fears, you get to set yourself free from what is holding you back including from thinking it is not the right time.
During conversations with friends and clients, the discussion around the perfect timing or the right time is sometimes raised. I can tell you that I do not believe in the perfect timing - and being a perfectionist myself this may sound paradoxical. Personally, I also struggle with this overall construct of perfection and how to make sense of it, especially being a high performer. Though I choose to believe that the right time is nothing else but the time when action takes place and you make your goals reality. Hence, the right time is NOW. No perfect time, no right time. Just the time you have right now.