On Doing Things Before You’re Ready

A few years ago I heard a powerful quote: “Great people do things before they’re ready.” It knocked me the fuck out, because I really feel that’s the story of my life. I tend to leap before I look. God knows I’m not a detail person- I see the big picture and I fall right into it.

A little digging on the interwebs led me to the full paragraph that quote is from. Said by Ms. Amy Poehler, it goes like this:

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God, what a quote! I love it. It gets me right in the gut, every time.

The truth of it is, I’ve been feeling a little scared about my upcoming road trip. I’ve come to realize that I planned this in the deepest part of my burnout stage. I wanted to get away from everyone and everything this past spring, and I planned a road trip that did exactly that.

These days, it’s a different story. I’m happier and out of my exhausting work sprint. I have a lot more alone time, and I feel like I’ve replenished myself over the last two months. Do I really still want to hit the road for four weeks by myself? And interview random women about their work lives? And then build a whole huge site around those interviews?

To give you the God’s honest truth, I both do and do not want to go on this trip. I’m feeling a little bit afraid of going out there alone, for four weeks. I’ll be seeing a lot of friends and family, and I’ll be conducting my interviews, but I’ll also have days by myself in parts of the country I’ve never been to.

I’m undertaking a huge project with these interviews. I’m not only traveling to get the interviews but, then there’s video editing, transcribing, writing, website construction, promotion and the whole bag of tricks that goes with being on online business.

It’s exciting and completely daunting. I’m definitely feeling a little imposter syndrome right now. Who am I to dare to try this? Who am I to tell these stories? Who am I, but some blogger from a tiny corner of the internet?

That’s why Amy’s (we’re on a first name basis) quote has been rattling around my head a lot. I don’t feel ready, but I’m doing it anyway. I don’t have a detailed, concrete plan for the trip or for the upcoming project. I have a vision of what I want both to be, and I am running after it. Who knows what will happen with both? Not me! I’m damn sure going to find out though. 

Doing things before you’re entirely ready is scary. No other word for it. But: I know in my bones that I couldn’t live with myself if I never even attempted this. I would carry around the not-knowing, and it would eat away at me for the rest of my life. The regret would be much worse that the fear I have now.

There’s another quote that sums it up perfectly. “Even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of not trying.” (Grey’s Anatomy)

Maybe this will all go up in flames. Maybe I’ll get stranded on a mountain road in Wyoming. Maybe my interviews will all come out like crap. Maybe I’ll run out of money in the middle of my trip and have to shamefacedly call a family member.

Or.

Or maybe this trip will change my life. Or maybe this trip will change me, the same way that paying off my debt did. Or maybe this trip will be the best thing I’ve ever done.

While yes, I’m feeling a little afraid of this trip, I’m also feeling excited. I’m feeling happy about it. I’m feeling powerful, and strong, and brave for taking this on. I’m looking forward to so many things about this trip, I can’t even list them all for you.

So, off I go. Three weeks until I hit the road. Please leave me your best road trip tips, and inspirational quotes in the comments to get me ready for it!

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4 Replies to “On Doing Things Before You’re Ready”

  1. I selfishly love that I get to read and hear about other people’s trips such as yours and Cait’s while I prepare to go on my road trip next February. Since my trip is so far out, I try not to think about it too much because I really do have a lot of living to do between now and then, which should be spent living intentionally and not waiting around for this big life change to happen. I don’t want to end up in this “in between” phase where I’m emotionally ready to go but the timing isn’t right (sometimes I do feel that way and I yell at myself to stop.) Also, because it’s so far out, I’m assuming that I’m going to be ready for it when it happens, but it’s entirely possible that January comes along and a freight train hits me that this is actually a thing that I’ll soon be doing.

    I hope you have a blast and I look forward to following your adventures.

    1. Thanks TJ. I was in the same boat as you. I started planning in March, and definitely spent so much time looking forward to this that I missed some of what was right in front of me. Thanks for the podcast link. Cait and I have been talking about our trips actually, and it’s been very helpful!

  2. Good luck on your trip. I understand it can be a little daunting, but it’s also inspiring. Follow that dream!

    1. Thank you! Daunting is the word for it. I’m excited and overwhelmed!

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