Readiness is a strange concept. Getting ready for work or to make dinner? No problem. But when it comes to making big moves in our personal lives and careers, it can feel like something more extreme and terrifying like base jumping or skydiving. Do I really want to do this? Am I forgetting something? What if something goes horribly wrong?
I want to encourage you to fight these very real and natural feelings when you’re facing the prospect of making a big change. The truth is, we almost never feel “ready” to tackle such daunting tasks. The best thing to do is just dive in. Richard Branson is probably the world’s most famous entrepreneur, and for good reason. He shared this story with a group that James Clear was a part of, and I want to share it with you now.
I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time.
At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do.
Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was cancelled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.
So what would you have done? Would you have pulled a Branson or would you have turned around, grumbling, and shuffled your way out of the airport to wait until the next flight? Truthfully, most of us wouldn’t have the gall. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have it inside us.
Low expectations yield underwhelming results. So why should we be surprised that a high risk taker like Branson has achieved such incredible results?
There’s a reason we don’t get nervous about getting ready for work in the morning. We do it every day. The stakes are low. When you’re considering taking a big step, it makes sense to be nervous. But you’ll never see the results of your actions if you don’t try. What big step have you been considering? How long have you been putting it off?
So remember: good things come to those who refuse to wait. The longer you do the less likely you are to start in the first place and the less time you’ll have to learn from what happens. Decide what your “Virgin Airlines” is, charter that flight, and trust that you have the skills to fill the seats.