Ep #39: Start Before You’re Ready

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | Start Before You're Ready
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Why haven’t you started working on your goal yet? When I talk to clients, they can always come up with lots of reasons for why they haven’t started on their goal. Maybe they’re still making a plan or need to do more research. The truth is, when it comes to a big change, you’re never going to feel ready.

Making an important change in our lives means the stakes will always feel high. The path forward will be uncertain and as humans, we naturally crave certainty. But you will never grow by being certain. You will only gain clarity by taking action and gaining experience.

This week, I’m going to share some reasons why you should get started before you’re ready. I’ll share why it’s important to fail, and why taking action will help you feel motivated to keep coming back.

Are you ready to eat, move, and think in a way that gets you strong both physically and mentally? You deserve to have both no matter how busy you are, and I can help. I’m opening up my one-on-one coaching program for new clients, and I would love to work with you. Click here to learn more about working with me.

Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you!

What You Will Discover:

  • Why it’s so hard to get started on a big change.
  • What is and isn’t getting started.
  • Why taking action creates clarity.
  • Why failure is so important.
  • How action gives us momentum.
  • Why now is always a good enough time.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #39. If there’s something big you want to change, like your exercise or nutrition, start before you’re ready. Let’s talk about why.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high-achieving, busy, working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer, and Certified Life Coach, Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So, what’s good here, we are going to talk about getting started before you’re ready. Starting before you’re ready applies to pretty much any big change. You can think of changing your eating, starting an exercise routine, looking for a new job. Those are the biggest ones I can think of, and the most common ones I coach my clients on.

But other big changes include a very difficult conversation, or a desire to make a big change in a relationship; whether that’s with a friend, a family member, or partner. Often, the stakes are high. You’ve got something to gain or lose in any of these situations. And often, you will tell me that you haven’t started yet, because you don’t feel ready.

I get it, these are big changes, they aren’t easy. And my goal is to help you start now because you are never going to feel fully ready to take on a big change. And so, here’s why we need to dive in and talk about why you aren’t getting started.

Most often, it’s fear. It’s fear of failure. It’s fear of not being adequately prepared. It’s fear of what other people will think when you do something new and different. So, I’m going to share this, and you probably know this already, but there is no time that you are going to feel ready to change your life. Seriously.

Waiting for when your kids go back to school, or the school PTA project simmers down. Or once you get through that big project at work. Or when your puppy gets a little older. Those are some of the things that you have told me hold you up from being ready to change. But then, once your kids are back in school, you’re busy with after school activities. Or you finish a big project at work and another one comes up. Or your puppy gets older, but now you still have to take them outside for walks every day.

There is always something that is going to derail you from getting started, always. So, here’s what I want to offer you. While most people are coming up with reasons why it’s not a good time to do something, people who succeed, they are out there getting started.

People who succeed are getting their hands dirty and are doing the work. People who succeed are not waiting for the exact right time of year, or the perfect temperature, or the right phase of the moon, or their astrologer to tell them it’s the right time to get started.

I’m not even kidding. I had someone tell me that their astrologer did not feel it was the right time to get started on a career transition. And I share all of this to say, that people who succeed don’t wait. They do not need the conditions to be perfect in order to get going, they just go.

Let me also offer you this, if it matters to you, you will probably never feel ready. If there is something big, like your weight, or a major lifestyle, or schedule change, or your career, or an important relationship that you are looking to change, those are big; they are important, they matter. And as a result, you will likely feel nervous, and never feel 100% ready to get a move on.

When the stakes are high and what you are looking to do matters, it’s that combination of excitement and uncertainty that collides and makes you second-guess getting started. This is when the ‘what ifs’ and the serious doubt start to surface. But if you can note that self-doubt, and thank it for being there to protect you, and then go get started anyway, then you’re on to something.

And part of the reason I feel so strongly about this, is because I was there. And in some ways, I still am. I have mentioned this before, but it took me an entire year to get this podcast started. I got a really nice microphone from my husband for my birthday, in 2021. And I thought, “Oh, here it is, this is it. This is what I need to get started. Game on.”

But then, that thing sat in my closet for almost an entire year because I needed to think about it just a little more. Get a little bit further along in my business. And figure out one more piece of tech. And have just a few more episode ideas. I gave myself all kinds of excuses to not get going.

It wasn’t until a full year later that I got out of my own way, and I launched the show. It debuted on my birthday, exactly one year later, and that irony is not lost on me. So, I’m trying to walk my talk here.

The next thing I want to do, but I’m admitting to you that I’m nervous to do, is a masterclass. Many of you have reached out with questions about nutrition, exercise, and habit building. I have ideas for a masterclass to get you started, but it is my fear and my worry that it won’t be perfect. That is keeping me stuck.

But hear me now, I’m putting the wheels in motion. I’ve watched courses, I’m learning the tech, and I’m outlining ideas so that this comes to fruition. I have just put it out here on the airwaves for all of you to hear, so now I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is, and make it happen. It is in process, and when I get it done, I will announce it here on the podcast.

But my point is this, no one is immune to the fear of change that comes with starting something new. As humans, we are creatures of habit. As humans, we do not like change. As humans, we like certainty over uncertainty. This all makes sense. Change brings uncertainty, it is not comfortable. So, it only makes sense that we resist it.

But I am here to encourage you, and to live this out for myself, that we didn’t come here to this planet to be certain. We came here to grow and blow our own minds. So, I don’t know about you, but I am not here to live out 9-5 and just skate by, all the while wondering, what if I got out of my comfort zone and tried something different? What could happen if I put my voice out there? What would happen if I offered to help people and help other women blow their own minds, too?

I want answers to those questions because life is not about being certain; that’s safe, but it’s not growing, it’s not changing. And that can get boring. No, life isn’t about being certain. It is about trying anyway. You can be certain about what you’ve known from all of your past experiences and let that be the end of it. Or you can be certain that you’ll make the best of whatever happens when you take a deep breath, get started, try something new, and expand in the best, messiest, most human way possible.

I love that. And I know what I choose. So, come along with me today, this is what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about reasons that you should get started on your big change today. And in that, I’m going to cover why you aren’t actually getting started. And then, we’re going to finish by talking about how you know if you are actually getting started.

We’re going to talk about what getting started is and what getting started isn’t. Because some of you have convinced yourself that you’re getting started, when you’re really not. And I want you to be able to recognize this, so you can see it and call yourself out in the kindest way possible and ask for more of yourself. Because I know that you are absolutely capable of doing more.

All right? So, let’s go. First, the first reason to get started before you’re ready, is that this is how you learn. I say it to myself and to my clients, over and over, because it is so true. You learn the how by doing. You learn the how by doing.

As an example, some of you have come to me and said you want to lose weight, but you’re not exactly sure how to go about doing it. You’re considering Keto or maybe intermittent fasting or maybe a Mediterranean approach, but you’re just not sure. So, instead of making a decision, you just decide not to decide.

And in the meantime, your diet does not change at all. And that is not getting you anywhere. You can spend all of your time and energy thinking about it and coming up with options, but at the end of the day, you don’t take action and nothing happens. You may be so caught up in the how process that it totally stifles you and keeps you from taking any forward action.

Or imagine you’re in a job situation that you don’t like, and you want to find a new job. Maybe you want to switch industries entirely. I’m coaching a number of women currently who are considering total career transitions. And I’m watching each and every one of them gets stuck because they think they need to know exactly, step-by-step, how to get a new career.

I can attest to this from my own experience. When I went to medical school, it was a very defined, very straight and narrow process. You go to med school, you do a residency, maybe you do a fellowship, then you become an attending. And then, you live happily ever after practicing medicine until you retire. Or in my case, until you can’t stand your daily grind anymore and decide to pivot entirely.

But there is no step-by-step process for getting out of your current career. There’s no list of checkboxes that you need to fill in, in order to suddenly land in a new job. And this is especially true if you’re starting a business, there is no one way to do it.

For many of you, embarking on something where there isn’t a predetermined path or a predetermined to-do list, that can be really scary and lead you to take zero action. But remember, you learn the how by doing.

So, if you were to take a leap and post something on LinkedIn or reach out to a friend in another industry to have coffee and talk about what she’s doing, that’s something. If you do a Google search and learn the steps to establishing your LLC, then you’ve got something to work from. It’s not until you start taking some action that the next steps will become apparent to you.

When you haven’t taken any action, your steps to change are nothing more than theory. You might think you know what you need to do in order to find a new career. But until you try something, until you reach out to a colleague or send a resume and cover letter or until you start looking at job requirements, you’re not getting any feedback to inform your next steps.

You know this already, but experience is your best teacher. And how do you get experience? You do something. So, let’s take it back to your nutrition. Imagine you’ve considered and have researched loads of different dietary approaches, and you’re just not sure. But you know that you like fish. So, you start incorporating fish into your meals once a week. There you go, that’s something. That is taking action on what you do know.

So many of you think you need to have all of the answers lined up. You need to know the perfect diet plan or the exact right exercise regimen or the exact right next new career for you, and that’s where you get stuck. You do not need to have all of the answers at the outset. Instead, take action on what you do know.

If you know that you like walking and you want to exercise more, take action on that, and walk once a week for 10 minutes. If you know you like animals and you want a new career, go volunteer at your local humane society. See what it’s like. Take action on what you do know, and more answers will reveal themselves to you. I cannot stress this enough. Do not wait for the answers to appear to you, go out and find answers by taking action. Action creates clarity, thinking about action does not. Okay?

All right, so the next reason to get started before you’re ready, is so that you can start making mistakes. And if that makes you cringe, I got you. But hear me now, when you are trying something new or different, mistakes, they are a guarantee. The longer you put off starting, the longer you put off failing. And the longer you put off failing, the longer you put off succeeding.

So, to boil it down and put it very bluntly, start now so you can hurry up and get some failures out of the way, already. Failing, it is inevitable, so you may as well just go and get them over with so you can get on to the other side of them.

Think about any big mistake you’ve made. Did you start out on a super restrictive diet plan only to go off the chain over a weekend and regain all the weight you lost during the week? Or did you set out to start exercising five days a week for 45 minutes at a time, after being sedentary for years, only to get zero workouts in? What did you learn from that?

I share these two examples because they are ones that I most commonly see my clients go through. And it’s not until she makes those mistakes that she’ll see, in real time, the lesson learned, slow and steady work. Drastic approaches do not. Goals that are small, realistic, and a bit of a stretch are more doable than big stretches. A one-degree shift? That works.

These are some of the lessons that are learned here. And admittedly, sometimes you have to learn these lessons repeatedly, by making the same mistake a few times before the message really hits home. But it is not until you try something and actually take some action that you will learn these valuable lessons. Remember, experience is a great teacher, right?

Mistakes, while they are painful, are an even better teacher, seriously. You learn more from your mistakes than you do your successes. And remember, those mistakes do not mean that you are a failure. Okay? Mistakes mean that you failed at something. This is a huge, huge difference here.

But so many of you have gotten tripped over this. The mistakes stick with you. Think about it. The mistakes tend to have a larger, deeper imprint on your brain than your successes. And that’s actually a good thing because it makes those lessons stick.

Our brains have a negativity bias. Think about any feedback or performance review you’ve ever gotten. Do you remember all the nice things people said about you? If you do, awesome. For me, I remember reviewing my patient satisfaction scores. And there can be loads of nice things, but it’s that one negative comment or that one mess-up that sticks out. Those mistakes stick with you for a reason, they’re teaching you something.

So, working through a mistake means you have to wake up and engage your brain. You have to apply critical thinking and look at what didn’t work. Try to answer why it didn’t work. And then come up with a different strategy so you have a different outcome next time.

In the case of a too restrictive diet, if you were able to follow it and strong-arm yourself through it for a week only to go off the rails over the weekend, that’s information. And if you’re willing to do the work and troubleshoot and see that maybe restricting all carbs or all pizza or all chocolate does not work, or that cutting your calories down to 1,300 really does not work for you, then you’ve got data.

Then you can use that data to make a different plan. But none of this knowledge comes from just thinking about eating differently. You get data and information once you try something and mess-up. So, the sooner you mess up, the sooner you learn. And the sooner you can try again and have a different outcome.

Remember, even the most successful people, they look like beginners when they get started. That successful person was a newbie, too. She made mistakes, learned, and tried again over and over until she got it right.

Alright, so the next reason to start before you are ready is this, it feels good. It feels good to finally get out of your own stinking way and actually do the thing. In fact, it feels awesome. Hear me out, there is a release that happens when you take a deep breath, trust yourself, and try something. You probably know what I’m talking about.

There is a real, legitimate, release that happens when you finally take action, and you feel better. And to be honest, oftentimes, you will see that taking action and getting started was not nearly as awful as you thought it was going to be. Like so many things, the anticipation is often way worse than the actual thing itself.

The first time I drove myself to the local pool all by myself at the crack of dawn to try and swim, I totally psyched myself out. I imagined how cold the water was going to be. I was envisioning how the water was going to feel in my trachea and the ensuing coughing fit that would follow. I was imagining feeling totally out of breath.

And it was terrifying. It was humbling. It was painful. And then I got over myself, and I jumped in that water and got it over with. And you know what? It was not as awful as they thought it was going to be. Fun? Yes, that would be a stretch, but I got it done. And the best part was that I got day one out of the way. And you can bet $1 I was proud for dragging myself out there. You know what happened after that? Day one turned into day two and into day three. And now, I’m a year in and I’m still showing up.

I have a client, who for a long time was not exercising, and we had been talking about all kinds of options. We had tried a few things. And then she finally decided and joined a CrossFit gym. And after her first day, she wasn’t sure. She liked it, but it was pretty different from what she had done in the past. It was a new language, a new culture, a new community to get used to, all of it.

But you know what she did? She kept going. The first day, though it was painful, and despite how sore she might have been, she got through it. And she kept going. Now, she goes to her CrossFit gym three days a week. And I recently got a text message from her about her new five-rep max on her deadlift, which is so very awesome. But the thing to note here, is that none of this would have happened if she had not taken the plunge and got started. She had to have a day one.

So, I’ve mentioned this in a previous podcast, but when you finally take action, one of the byproducts that you create from that action is momentum. You get motivation. And that motivation helps you to keep taking action. That first day at the gym, even though it might be hard to get there and get started, once you do and you do your workout, you feel better.

And when you feel better, that motivates you to keep showing up for your workouts. And over time, you get stronger, you get faster, you feel less winded, you feel good, because that’s what exercise does for you. Those are your results. Remember, your work, your results. And that is true, whether it’s in the gym, at work, in the kitchen, in your relationships, really anywhere. Your work, your results.

Those results compel you to keep going. Seeing the results of your hard work, there it is, that is pride. That’s success. And that only comes after you get started. It starts after day one.

Alright, so next. When you get out of your own way and start before you’re ready, you will most definitely surprise yourself with what you are capable of doing. When you have done your work, meaning you’ve created a plan for yourself, and then you go and execute it, good things happen. Whether it is the outcome you wanted or not. Either way, you’re either succeeding or you’re learning. I see both of those outcomes as huge wins.

If my experience coaching women has taught me anything, it’s this, you can do a lot more than you think you can, really. You just have to get out of your own way and try. And once again, this goes back to self-efficacy, it is one of my most favorite concepts.

I will keep repeating it, because too many of you do not have enough of it and it is my personal mission to help you have more. Self-efficacy, again, is your belief in your ability to get the job done. It is the belief in your ability to reach your goal. And how do you get self-efficacy? By trying, failing, and coming back for more.

Because the more you try, fail, and learn and then repeat the process, the more you will ultimately succeed. And when you try something, like when you try running and only make it around the block before you get winded and stop, that is still progress, that is success. That’s more than you would have accomplished by sitting on the couch thinking about it.

You take that success, and you turn that jog around the block into two laps around the block. And then, you start to trust yourself a little more. And then, you go for a mile. And you keep building and building, and you keep going just a little bit farther until you do that 5k road race.

And in that process, you have proven yourself to yourself. You showed yourself that you have the skills, the confidence, and the capacity to reach your goal. That is self-efficacy. And then, you can turn around and use that to fuel another goal, like a 10k race or changing up your diet or changing your career.

I know that may sound extreme, but I’ve seen it. Not only have I done it myself, but I have seen this happen for many clients, who once they had built trust in themselves, physically through exercise, they turned around and took that strength and applied it to other areas of her life. Like, getting a new job, or starting a side business, or taking a big step in a relationship.

This is why I think that exercise is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself, because it is so much more than the movement. Exercise is a dry run for the rest of your life, really.

Alright, so there we go. Let’s review. Here are the four reasons you should start before you’re ready. First, so you can learn. Remember, you learn the how by doing. Experience is your best teacher, second only to mistakes. You do not need all the answers now, before you get started. Take action on what you do know, and you will learn more as you go.

Second, start before you’re ready so you can start making mistakes and get them out of the way. Remember, mistakes are inevitable. The sooner you make them, the sooner you can be on your way to success.

Third, it feels good to take action. There is a very real tension that you feel when you want to do something so very badly, but you don’t. That tension sits on your shoulders, and it is heavy, it is frustrating, and it can be totally exhausting. But then, when you finally take action, that tension starts to fade away, and instead you create momentum. And that momentum keeps you going.

And fourth, start before you’re ready so you can see what you are capable of. When you stretch yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and try something new, you will surprise yourself. You will build self-efficacy. And you’ll realize that whatever you’ve been putting off was probably not as awful as you thought it was going to be. Okay?

So now, say you’ve decided that you are ready enough. That is the time to get started on your nutrition, exercise, your big lifestyle change, your career transition, whatever it is, you’ve decided that this is a good enough time to start. And honestly, that’s how I would approach it, good enough is exactly that.

How do you know that you’re actually getting started? Let me make it really clear for you. I’m going to start by making it very clear what does not constitute getting started. So, getting started is not brainstorming, outlining and re-outlining, Google searching for days, wrapping your mind around it, strategizing, talking about it, thinking about it.

On the contrary, starting is doing the work. It is making mistakes, it is taking calculated risks, it is taking action and producing a result. If you have no result, then I would argue that you have not gotten started. Okay, so this is essential, you know that you’re actually getting started when you stop thinking so hard and you take action. And I mean, real, legit, messy, ugly action.

Let me shout this from the rooftops: If you have no result, whether it’s a good one or a bad one, if you have no result, then you have not gotten started. To be fair, you do not have to have everything figured out to a tee to get started. And I bring this up because so often, I will be working with someone who wants to change the way she eats. And she’ll tell me she’s thinking about it. And then the next week, she’ll tell me, she’s doing some reading about the benefits of intermittent fasting. And then the next week, she’ll tell me, she’s still deciding if she wants to go moderate or low carb. And then the next week, she’s reading one more article about the benefits of nutritional yeast and where does that fit in.

This can go on for forever. And meanwhile, nothing changes, and nothing happens. So, do not get caught in this trap. Okay? One of the reasons I bring this up, is to caution you from using research and preparation as a crutch that keeps you from getting started.

So often, I will have someone tell me she needs to think about it or research more. But really, what she is doing is procrastinating from starting. Again, this is another place where I’m just asking you to be on to yourself, in a kind way. And ask if the amount of research or thinking about it is really necessary, or is it just delaying you from getting started?

Because you can spend weeks or months preparing and researching and not get anywhere. And this is not to say go after your change unprepared, please don’t misunderstand me. You know by now, and you know I’m all about having a plan. So yes, I do want you to do some homework and come up with a plan for yourself.

But that being said, you cannot have a plan for everything. You cannot prepare for everything. And you’re going to learn a lot more about intermittent fasting or Keto if you go out and try it. Don’t let yourself procrastinate under the guise of doing more research. I see this way too often and it is holding you up.

While I’m talking about being prepared and doing your homework, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you are planning for your change. Okay, so first, do you need more information? Like, how many calories to eat or how much protein you really need or how often you should lift weights in order to build muscle.

Decide on the questions you need answered. Find the answers or work with a coach like me to help you decide on your answers, and then be done with it. Set yourself up with some time limits. There is only so much reading, researching, and questioning you can do before you take action. No amount of reading or googling is going to give you experience, you get experience by doing.

Determine what information you need and find it. But do not let research turn into procrastination. This is huge, it comes up so often. And this is where you really have to be on to yourself, so you don’t get trapped by this.

Alright, so next question, do you need a plan? And again, you know me, I will say, yes, you need a plan. However, some of you get so bogged down in the details of having the plan exactly right and every detail mapped out that you stop yourself before you ever get started.

Come up with a hypothesis: This is how I think I need to eat in order to lose weight. Write out your plan, that’s your hypothesis. And then, go test it out. And then, you get data. And you can rewrite a new hypothesis based on that data.

So yes, have a plan. But don’t be so rigid. And don’t make it a requirement that you have every step of the plan nailed down, that you don’t ever try it out. That’s defeating the purpose. Remember, you learn the how by doing. So, try something and then learn your how along the way. Stick with those two questions: Do I need more information? And do I need a plan?

Answer those for yourself. Set some limits to the amount of research that you’ll do. Create your plan, and then get to work. You are ready. Start before you’re ready. It will feel liberating, I promise. And then you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

So, I hope that this helps you to unpack some of the reasons you may not be getting started with whatever change you’re looking to make. Whether it’s your nutrition, your exercise routine, your career, a relationship, these concepts apply in any setting. And speaking from the experience of getting out of my own way to put my voice out here and talk with you every week, just do it. Get started. Now is a good enough time. I promise. You grow by stepping into the unknown, not by staying safe in what you do know.

We all start as beginners. You’re going to feel nervous, uncertain, and unprepared, and that’s okay. The people who succeed know this and they try anyway. What you’ve got right now, that is enough. The person you are right here and now, with the skills and knowledge that you’ve got, all of it is enough to get you started on whatever change you’re looking to make.

If you have a brain, a body, a heart, and a soul that are all working, you are ready. And if you want help with this, let’s talk. I coach women on exactly this. I will help you get out of your own way to make big changes in your eating, moving, and thinking so that exercise, eating healthy, and feeling good are non negotiable, no matter how busy you are.

Check out my website, go to www.CarrieHollandMD/contact and let’s get going. Alright, thank you again for hanging out with me and I will catch you again next week.

If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. And share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media. Be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook, so I can follow along and engage with you.

This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong, inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better or eat and move differently but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up. And you know, making that change starts with how you think. And that is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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