Let me ask you this – those of you who go through the monotony of a daily routine, do you sometimes think of an imaginary alternate profession or maybe a hobby that was once dear to you? For example, I remember this friend telling me that he would like to be a taxi-driver and exchange stories with the passengers (he is currently a professor). To that, I had laughed and said that I would like to be a waitress in a café (yes, there is something about waitressing that makes me want to try it out once). Another friend who has a day-time job and is a wonderful dancer had told me that she would love to be an actress. A doctor friend of mine even wanted to dress up as a beggar and sit on the streets of Washington DC (‘Just as an experiment’ he had said, but I am pretty sure that had he conducted it, he would have kept the money and repeated the “experiment” :-))
I am usually very scatterbrained about retaining details, but somehow I can’t forget these stories that my friends share with me. Their emotions start floating around me going ‘Yeah, would be fun to do that’, ‘I would really love to do that but…’ or even ‘Hey, how do you manage to do it?’ and also ‘Ha, nice that you get time to do that!’. Ouch! That last one just poked me in my eye. Surely in the recent years, I have engaged in activities outside of my work and family commitments but I honestly don’t remember anyone donating an extra 4 hours a day to me to do that. But do you really care to know how I managed it? Well, I didn’t. I couldn’t have. There is instead a simple idea behind it and that is this: Take the first step and then do NOTHING. That’s right. Do nothing, but take the first step. You owe the first step to yourself. If you cannot take that first step, then do not bother to keep asking me or anyone else how they do it. Also in that case, do yourself a huge favor and get rid of the thoughts that nudge you once in a while and make you go ‘I would really love to do that but…’. Otherwise those thoughts will slowly eat you up.
For example, you want to try blogging, go find out the easiest way to set up a blog and write one post. Make the post pretty by adding a cute image or two. Then you will realize that maybe you didn’t really want to blog. Fine, move on to something else. Or maybe the blog will tempt you to write more and surprise you. In that case, smile and write your second post. Again, you are doing nothing, now the blog is helping you write. Or if you keep thinking of how as a teenager, you loved to stand in front of a mirror and act out a scene from a movie, try it again as an adult. Who cares whether you can act or not? Have fun! And then who knows, tomorrow you might come across a friend who will invite you to join his Improv sessions. Go with the friend. Do you think about dancing? Get up and go for a trial lesson, see how it feels. Then maybe you will end up in the class of a lovely instructor who will push you to continue. Take a day off from work if that’s the only way you will get to taking that first step.
I remember I took a day off and went ice skating a couple of years back. I was skating after a gap of twelve years. The ice rink felt unfamiliar and I wobbled as I skated. Also I was so worried of slipping that like a coward fool, I had tied my skates really really tight. That ended up bruising my legs and the scars from it stayed for a long time. But I had been aching for so long to go for skating, that had I not gone that day, the bruises from that unfulfilled desire would have stayed longer.
So make a list and write down all the fun things that keep nudging you once in a while. Look at the one thing that keeps bubbling to the top of the list. Take the first step for that one thing and then let the universe work for you. Once the universe starts doing its thing though – remember to do nothing. That is, don’t mess it up by thinking too much or by worrying whether you are going to be able to handle it or not. Go with the flow, keep having fun and enjoy the fact that you have a phenomenal personal assistant working very hard for you! Ready to take that first step?