The problem is when we stay there too long – and end up watching the people around us move forward and seem to fall into the very opportunities that we long to find.
When this happens, it’s easy to believe that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re somehow less capable or maybe even downright unlucky.
If this resonates with you, take heart. Chances are that you’ve just become a little too comfortable (or comfortably uncomfortable) there on the sidelines.
Here are six signs that you’re keeping that bench – or couch – of yours a bit too warm.
- You’re (still) in the planning, thinking, and strategizing mode. A lot. And while it may seem that this is the best way to get to where you want to go, eventually you’ve got to get in the game. No matter how much you try, you can’t fully anticipate what will come your way and how it might change your whole game plan – until you do it. So while it’s good and wise to put your left-brain to use, eventually you’ve got to put yourself out there and discover what’s there for you.
- You’re not getting dirty enough. When was the last time that you were so engaged in play that you lost all sense of time? When anything that weighed on your mind seemed to slip away, because you were so darn captivated? Sure, you’re a grown-up (ok, mostly) but that doesn’t mean that you no longer need to play. Play is about being fully in the moment and losing your ego (you know, your concern about how you appear or what others think or what you’ll gain from it). It’s about letting yourself go where your curiosity takes you and, sometimes, throwing caution to the wind. If you’re not getting a little (or a lot) gritty from time-to-time, you’re not playing enough. So get out there. Do what makes you feel giddy. Chances are that your best ideas will be born of it.
- You keep waiting for your turn. It’s tempting to wait for the universe to give you an unmistakable, siren-loud sign that this it’s your turn now. (Well, here it is. *Insert siren.*) Really, though, there are more subtle signs all around you, except if you’re busy waiting for that right moment, you’ll miss them. Or second-guess them. Or choose to ignore them. So, listen. This is it. You’ve got everything you need here and now. Or, as my coach used to say, it’s in your back pocket. So go on – seize this moment.
- You stop when you bump up against resistance. Resistance is a part of life, even if it’s uncomfortable, irritating and often painful. You’re going to get bruised and even knocked down to the ground. And while your fear may make it an indication of your inadequacy or weakness, don’t believe it. Brush it off and carry on. You’re stronger and more resilient than you think.
- You don’t know which team (or tribe) you belong to. To do what you need to do, you need your team. You need to be surrounded by people who get you – who will stand by you, cheer you on, buoy you, and nurse your wounds. If you don’t know who your people are, you need to get out there – and find them. None of us are meant to live life alone. Especially the hard parts.
- You believe it’s safer there on the sidelines. It sure does feel that way. But the truth is that safety is only an illusion. We think if we take ourselves out of the game, we have less to lose. But really, we have so much to lose by letting our dreams and desires – and our potential as human beings – slip by while we grasp for comfort and safety. There is no guarantee of safety anywhere. But if you choose to put yourself in there, you will gain much more than the accomplishment of any singular goal. You will gain the aliveness that comes from pursuing your desires. And the chance that opportunity brings when you walk towards it.
So lace up and get in there – because your future awaits you.