Thursday, March 26, 2009

What's Stopping You?

The other day I asked a question: What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? I’ve been thinking a lot about this myself. Most of your answers weren’t extravagant, far fetched ideas. Most of them involved going back to school, starting something you could be proud of like your own small business or non-profit, or being in a relationship. As the comments were coming in I was thinking to myself “wow, she should really do that” or “that would be great, she could do that.” One question that I kept coming back to was “What’s stopping you?”

This is something I’ve been asking myself on a daily basis for about three weeks now. What’s stopping you Mandy? What is it that is stopping you from attempting what you want to try? I’m good at making excuses; really good actually. I can give myself lots of answers – its not the right time, I don’t have the money, is it really what I want, and my personal favorite, but I really like my life. While all of those may to some degree be true, they cannot be my excuses any more. Its just not acceptable. I’m comfortable in my life. I have a job that pays the bills, gives me some extra money for fun things, and a lot of vacation time. For five years now, its been enough. But now? It’s not anymore.

When I wrote about what I wanted, I thought it was a fun thing to write, but the more I looked at the list, I knew I could achieve just about all of them. The more I looked at the list the more I wanted everything on that list. So that left me back at one of my original questions – what’s stopping you? The only answer left that is completely, 100% true—me. I’m the one stopping myself, for all the reasons that I can no longer accept. I deserve to experience and have every single thing on that list. So I started making changes.

I started surrounding myself with bright colors in many things – a fun bright bag, a deep hued scarf, fun flowers I passed in the flower department at the grocery store. If I want to do something, I do it, without explanation. Those are just small things compared to the major things I want to undertake in the next few years, but they make a huge difference. I’m happier, I smile more. I’m living life according to my own standards and I’m defining it on my own terms.

What else do I want in my life? I want to go back to school full time to pursue my master’s degree in information and library science. Can I afford it? No. Is that going to stop me? Not a chance. My goal now is to find a way to make it happen, look into different programs and grants, maybe a TA position. But somehow I will find a way to do it. Maybe I will have to make a concession and go part time, but somehow I am going to find a way to do it. The excuses that I have been using, I cannot use any more. Will this mean leaving my comfortable job? Probably (or I could be laid off, who knows what will happen in this economy), but thats just what I consider it, a job. Will it mean moving away from my family and friends? Eventually, but we'll stay in touch and close with the cell phone or Facebook. Will it mean completely moving beyond my little comfort zone? Most definitely. Its scary and exciting all at the same time to know that I am taking the steps that for so long, I’ve been afraid of taking.

In many areas of my life, its time to step out of my comfort zone. To see what I can do with my life; to be the person I’ve never fully let myself become; to let go of the fear of failure. That’s a big one. The funny thing is though that if you don’t try, you’ll never even know. If I’m going to be completely honest with myself, in the past few years I haven’t really tried and somewhere along the way I became afraid to try. What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work out? Someone tells me no? Now that I write it out, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. If it doesn’t work, I’ll figure something else out. I always do. Its time to stop being comfortable, to step out and push myself to be better—to do more, to be more. Its time to make my thoughts into a reality. I may have to start small, but that's ok. I can do this. I will do this.

Go back and look at your answers to that post from a few days ago. Ask yourself what it is that you really want.

Then, answer this question -- What’s stopping you?

Now, who's with me?


Anonymous said...

Very inspiring! I know what excuses I! I am with you on my job just being a job. It pays my bills but it's not fulfilling AT ALL! I actually am very frustrated with it right now. Nothing inspires me here. It doesn't challenge my mind in any way, shape or form. I am going to start doing some research on my little cupcake shop!!! I will start out out of the house and she what happens. Thanks for the inspiration! I love reading your blog!

Anonymous said...

You are so very right. The only thing stopping me is ME. I am afraid to leave my current job because of the great perks, benefits, unstable economy and I don't want to let my dad down (family owned business). I also am not sure I could find something awesome out there right now.

I really do want to start a wedding planning company but I don't know the first thing about where to start and think I need a different degree. So I guess I should start with research! And talking about bank loans and realizing that in order to get what I want, my life would be totally uprooted!

can't wait to hear about more of your changes. Sounds like you've got everything in place!

Anonymous said...

YAY!!! Pick me! I am with you! that was just a great post and i wish you all the luck with everything you decide to do-you will be GREAT!

Vanessa said...

Oh you ask the hard questions! This is a good one to ponder and I often realize the answer is that I am the one stopping me, not anyone else or any outside force. Just my own belief system or some other crazy thing in my head.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I am the first to push people outside their comfort zones. I remember telling one of my good friends from high school (who went to college in a very similar town to where we grew up) to go to the west coast for med school. I knew she'd eventually work her way back to our home-city. She did it and had a blast. Helped her really see the world in a different light. So, I say to you, JUST DO IT! BTW, UNC has a pretty darn good program in Library Sciences - you should check it out!

As far as I'm concerned... I made choices in life and now I have responsibility. In order for me to pursue something creative & artistic, we would have to sell our condo and move somewhere much less expensive. We could do it, but I'm pretty darn happy where I am now. So, no changes in the immediate future!

Tiffany said...

LOVED this post. i am so proud of you for deciding to go back to school. like oprah says, go with your instinct. i know youll figure the money thing out!!

as for me, the only thing i need to go for is an excercise routine which this post has def inspired me to do!!!

Stacy said...

Quality post. Really.

The Alleged Ringleader said...

Good for you and I agree with Tonya, this is inspiring! It's good to see you have really thought about things and I just know you will find a way to make it work sista!

Katie said...

That's so exciting! I seriously considered doing a master's degree in that (and I still toy with the idea). That would be so fun.

If you're interested in doing a master's by correspondence I have a few contacts who have the name of some highly respected program. I'd be happy to get those to you if you'd like.

Also, this is a brilliant question. What is stopping me from doing the things I want. Depending on the goal, the answer is varied.

Great post. Thank you!

amanda said...

You are dead on! I love this
post, Mandy. It rocks!

Umm...I said I'd hit up Broadway.
What's stopping me? The part that
I actually don't have a voice. At all. Ugh. I've looked into acting-I've tried to be discovered...but I dunno.

I do think that we can all do and be anything we really want though. If we all just stop making excuses and do it. But sometimes, it isn't always that easy. Ehh. Life!

Redhoon said...

Fabulous post. Truly. Keep it handy when you're in school. When you're in the middle of it, after leaving a job and a comfortable life, I guarantee you will start asking yourself why you gave all of that up for a degree.

So, I'm going to remember this post when I face questions like the ones you've posed: what's stopping me? Me (and a lot of fear). Thank you for sharing this!

Little Fish said...

Yeah!! Good fo you, this is so awesome! I can't wait to hear all about your journey back into the academic world.

As for me, well I knot that James Franco goes to Columbia and I work right near there. I suppose that if I were fully committed to stalking him then he and I could fall madly in love :)

Andy said...

So, I said I was going to write a comment on your old post and I forgot.

What would I do? I'd go as a missionary this Holy Week to the countryside, and not study for the BAC at all.

What's stopping me? My desire to do GREAT on my BAC and get the scholarship so I can have a certain comfort when in Europe.

I think you need to come to France to study. It's cheap, you know?

LBluca77 said...

It is true the only thing that ever stops us from doing things is ourselves. Our own worst enemy at times.

You should go back to school. Yes it is expensive but once you have an education then noone can take that away.

Ashley said...

Your other post made me think that I haven't held back on my career dreams or my interests, but there's so much missing out of the relationships I have in my life, and part of what's stopping me is that I don't know how to fix that and other part is that I'm holding back, because I'm scared of failure and rejection. I'm too sensitive for that. Of course I don't want things to stay that way, but it's so hard to move forward.

Lexilooo said...

I've thought about an MLS for a long time...I'm nearly finished with my second Masters, though not Library Science. I wouldn't be opposed to getting one someday though :)

Auburn Kat said...

What's stopping me is very simple, being hurt again, being told that I wasn't the one again, being cheated on again, being lied to again, having my head messed with again, etc, etc.

Seriously, I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready for another relationship ever again.

Bayjb said...

What stops me? Fear and myself. We are all our own worst enemy and talking yourself out of something is easier than the risk of being hurt.

Frank said...

Well, I said I'd want to eat bacon for every meal...I think my own sense of well-being is what's stopping me, and maybe for once that's a good thing :)

Unknown said...

i LOVE this post. first - kudos and applauds to you for taking the steps to move in the direction you want to. it takes courage and fear to make even the smallest changes and you have overcome them both...i can't wait to read what comes next.

'what's stopping me?'

fear of failure. that's it. 100%. i would love to start my own small business, have a business plan 98% written, a business name...heck i even have a draft of the text that would go up on my business website!

but i just don't do it. what if i don't get any clients? what if i can't deliver the goods?

the funny thing is - i have people who believe in me. i have talented people who have said - we'll be your client! and yet...i do's so frustrating.

(btw wanted to thank you for the comments you leave on my blog. i always look forward to them. i may not comment here all the time but i wanted you to know i do read regularly!)