“I don’t have time,” I replied.
In response, he replied, ”That isn’t true.“ He then smiled broadly and continued. “That’s a cop-out answer. Why don’t you really write it? We all have the same amount of time. We don’t have time; we make it. What is it that really stops you?“
The man seated beside me shook his head and smiled. He’d listened intently to my story about learning to trust the Creator in 2010 as I’d hiked 500 miles over the course of 40 days, along the famed Camino de Santiago in Spain. He’d said the world could use more reminders of the lessons I’d learned over the course of my journey there, and that I should write a book on it. I told him I had already started, but that I hadn’t finished it because I didn’t have enough time.
However, his response caused me to pause. He was right. Not having enough time or money or resources or any of the other reasons I usually gave were just cop-out answers. They were excuses I used to justify not writing, but they weren’t the real reason. Why didn’t I write? Why didn’t I make the time to do what I knew in my soul I should be doing?
He smiled as the silence continued. I was thinking seriously about his question, and he knew it. My mind was blank as I contemplated. Why wouldn’t I make the time to write? I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt something moving just below the surface. The answer was there…. somewhere.
I opened my mouth to speak, and was surprised by what came out: “I’m afraid of what people will do with it if I write it. I’m scared of what they will do with my most personal and sacred thoughts. I don’t know how they will react. That experience meant a lot to me, and I know some people will ridicule what I went through. I don’t know if I can handle that. When I talk to people, I can pick and choose who I share it with. Having it all written down would be different. I don’t know if I can handle someone ripping into some of the most sacred experiences of my life.”
That was not what I had expected to say. I was surprised by my own comments, but I realized that it was the truth. I was scared of what others would do with my innermost thoughts if I simply put them out there for all the world to see. That fear was stopping me from even making time to write my story down, let alone put it out to be read.
The man smiled, then laid out a simple plan as we talked about fear, faith, courage, and determination. He suggested I write just five pages a day for 30 days. Doing this, I would have completed 150 pages on a manuscript in a month. He was right! I had thought that writing a book was hard. But when he had broken it down this way, it didn’t seem hard at all. It would just take time. In just 30 days, with a little effort every day, I could write the entire book.
More importantly, I now knew what it was that scared me. I was afraid of the uncertainties of a future that I couldn’t plan or control, because they would be based on what others might think or do with what I had written. But that day I made a goal to move forward in my life, and finish writing the book we had spoken of.
As I write these words, I have completed the first draft of the book I spoke with the man about, and am reviewing and editing it again before submitting it to a publisher. Identifying what I was truly afraid of helped me find the courage to move through my fear and take action towards the completion of my dream.
I will face my fear and continue to move forward towards success.
I would like to pose the same question to you that the man asked me: “Why haven’t you (__________) yet?”
What goals are near and dear to your heart? What dreams have you sought to realize, but been unable to achieve? What do you want to do in your life, but time and again find yourself giving excuses and justifications for avoiding?
Is it time that stops you? Money? Resources? Education? What excuses do you use to justify not taking the actions today that will lead you toward success tomorrow? What fears really lie behind those excuses?
I would like to encourage you, just as this man did for me, to take action today. For, it is by little steps that every great dream is realized. Just as I was able to write a book by simply writing 5 pages a day, so too can you achieve your dreams by taking small and simple actions each day. You will find that those little, daily actions will compound over time–just as interest does–leading you continually closer toward the achievement of your goal.
So ask yourself, “Why haven’t you (__________) yet?”
I promise you that the actions you take today will determine whether or not you realize the dreams of tomorrow.
So release your fear, trust in the Creator, and take action today.