How Do You Know If You’re Ready or Not?

Change is wrenching, isn’t it?

One of my all time favorite American novelists, F. Scott Fitzgerald opined: “There are no second acts in American lives.” I have to respectfully disagree. I’ve been through at least three acts so far, and I think I can still shake out at least one more.

Becoming a parent definitely splits your life into ‘before’ and ‘after’ acts. If you go through a major career change, or even totally re-invent yourself, I’d say that counts for an act as well. The most difficult part of making big changes in one’s life, it seems to me, is getting beyond that moment after you look, but before you actually leap. How do you know if you’re ready or not?

When I was a child, my Dad gave me his blueprint for making any kind of decision. He favored the time honored method of making a list of pros and cons, and then evaluating the list in order to make the best possible choice. Good as far as it goes, I suppose. But what about that emotional ‘X-factor’ — that feeling of creeping doubt that seems to freeze you in place at the precise moment you need to take some decisive action to put your plan into play? I’ve actually come to think of this moment as a kind of ‘psychic threshold.’ Either you stay where you are, on your side of the door, or you throw it open and leap into the darkness. This requires great faith — in yourself , in your abilities and in your assessment of the challenges that await you.

At this juncture, is it a good idea to consider the implications of possible failure? Perhaps not. Or better yet, what if you didn’t classify unwished-for results as failure? What if you decided that whatever happened, the result meant you’d acquired knowledge?

This summer, I’m in the process of readying myself for change. I’m writing myself another ‘act’ and trying to see around every corner, which of course, I can’t. I’ll have to remember that no matter how it goes, I’m going to learn a few new things, and in the end, that’s how we grow, right?

Leaping into the darkness yet again — frightening, yes. But always exhilarating!

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