Are You Doing Double-Dutch?

When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I accompanied my Girl Scout troop to what we  thought would be a double-dutch workshop. What it actually was was a short instructional class on how to double-dutch (i.e. how to jump -rope with two ropes simultaneously), followed by a fierce competition among a group of girls who were seriously the most amazing jump-ropers I had ever seen.

Mouth open, eyes wide, my fellow knock-kneed friends and I stared at these double-dutch pros like they were goddesses from sidewalks and alleyways we knew nothing about.

I stood there and studied their strategy, watching each girl just before she jumped in. Standing a few feet away from the braided cords that whipped around in circles, one foot in front of the other, they leaned forward and then swayed back to the rhythm of the ropes, readying themselves before they dove in.

I’m often reminded of this event from my past when I work with clients who have big goals. Some of them want to leave their job, or apply for a dream position working abroad, start their own business, or write a book. And like the girls in the double-dutch competition, so many of them are at the ropes, so to speak; tennis shoes on, ready to dive in.

But very much unlike the girls at the competition, they don’t jump in.

Instead, they stay in that ready position for a long time; facing the ropes, biting their figurative lip, inwardly saying, ” I”m going to do it, I’m going to jump in…” while back and forth they go – heel to toe, heel to toe – ever ready, but too afraid to take that leap.

I call this ready-but-not-moving state “doing double-dutch,” and it’s a common phenomenon among people with big goals. After all, it’s easy to convince ourselves that one day we’ll make the move – when the time is right. When the kids are older. When the weather changes. When, when, when…etc.

But here’s the thing: there’s never really a right time to start anything.

To the contrary, for many people, great things have happened as the result of poor timing. J.K. Rowling penned her world-renowned books while an impoverished single mother on state benefits. Girlboss Sophia Amoruso started her now-famous fashion line while checking student i.d.’s at a college campus. And GoPro® founder Nick Woodman found success with his portable HD video cameras only after two of his former startups failed.

The point is, it all starts by jumping in. Sure, the temptation to plan and calculate and analyze risk and write a business plan is huge. And yes, these are all great, smart things to do – but at the end of the day, what was it all for if you never jump in?

So if you find yourself to be a serial Double-Dutcher – always gearing up, but afraid to make a move – I wholeheartedly encourage you to take the leap.

As with so much in life, getting started is often the hardest part. But remember, it’s only after you start jumping that you’ll find your rhythm. ♥

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