• Dr. Lisabeth Medlock

You have to GO to GET: 5 Reasons We Hesitate and Steps to Move Forward




Recently, while listening to my favorite podcast, How I Built This with Guy Raz, I heard an entrepreneur use this phrase: “You have to Go to Get”. This resonated with me because it succinctly summed up the struggle many of my client’s face- they want to GET something or somewhere, but they can’t seem to GO, to start. Much of my work as a life coach is helping people move forward, take a step, or make a decision-the GO that will GET them to their goals, both long and short term. There is no singular reason why they can’t seem to GO, but I have found there are about five barriers, which come in the form of excuses, reasons, and rationales, that keep them stuck and dug in. In this article, I explore the reasons we hesitate and describe some strategies we can use to GO, so we can GET what and to where we want.


Reason 1: I am still processing/analyzing/thinking about it, so I am not ready to GO. At the core of this hesitation is the need to somehow make the right or perfect next move or decision. In trying to find that perfect step we can get stuck in analysis paralysis, especially in these times of way, way too much data and information (sometimes conflicting) at our fingertips. If we keep scanning and deep diving into everything that is available, we will never move forward. The first step to being able to GO is to embrace the fact that there is no right answer, no perfect decision, only the best decision we can make at the time using both what we know and our gut or instincts. In fact, your first instinct and thoughts are usually right. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, cites research that shows your first gut instincts and reactions are often better than things you have thought about over and over again. So, the second step is to trust yourself. The last step is to break things down into smaller chunks, small decisions that will propel you forward. For example, if you want to move out of town, you do not have to decide where and when up front. You can simply decide to explore other cities by visiting them. Do some homework, trust your instincts, and make small decisions quickly.


Reason 2: If I GO, I will make mistakes, fail, be embarrassed, or look ridiculous: Despite every single guru telling us there are no mistakes, only learning opportunities or opportunities to grow, most people do not want to fail. Sure, we do learn and grow in the face of missteps, but there is still a legitimate concern about being perceived, by others, as a loser. These days it may be harder to hide mistakes, as social media and the lack of any privacy make us feel like it’s all out there. So how do we GO, in the face of that fear? First, it is important to get the words mistake and failure out of our vocabulary and replace them with words like pivot, course correction and springboard. Second, it is equally important to realize that you have some control over how you tell your own story and what you choose to share. You also have control over how you react to other’s comments, which can be negative. In the false online world people seem to be paying attention, but in the real world, people are typically absorbed in their own lives. Third, you can face the fear of failure by having the courage to act despite it. Sit with that fear, focus on your strengths, and visualize yourself making some steps forward with success. You will realize fear cannot debilitate you.


Reason 3: Somebody told me not to Go or others are holding me back: There is never a shortage of opinions or advice that others will give us, solicited or not. And advice and opinions tend to seep right through any boundaries we have set. When people we love and trust, who have our best interests in mind, tell us not to GO, it is hard not to heed their warning. But here’s the truth-others do not walk in your shoes and cannot know with certainty what works for you. Loved ones are also going to be more cautious because of their roles as protectors. Lastly, those close to you may have their own agenda and motives for not wanting you to make changes. So, you can listen and nod and pick and choose among the nuggets of wisdom thrust upon you from others, but ultimately it is your life that you are living. You can acknowledge the feedback from others by letting them know you hear them, but you do not have to let it dictate your choices. Own your life and don’t make others the excuse for why you cannot GO.


Reason 4: I don’t know all the steps or the process, so I cannot GO: There is a saying, we make plans and God laughs, which speaks to the unpredictability of life. Because we cannot predict the future, we will never know, with certainty, what lies ahead. Even if you are following, for example, a 10-step process, that process looks different for each person, and what it will take to get from A to B varies. There is no instruction guide to life, no magic bullet, no five easy steps to whatever. Here’s the trick, if you have a sense of what you want in the future, you can figure out the first one or two steps to put you on the path. When you take those one or two first steps, the rest of the steps will begin to reveal themselves organically. Breaking things down into smaller chunks and rehearsing success, as I talked about earlier, works here too. Sometimes the only way to figure out the steps is to begin the walk.


Reason 5: I don’t have the time, money, or energy to GO. This is a concern many express when they perceive that their plates are full. To GO, you do have to make some small tweaks to free up space and energy. Holding that space to engage in a change process is up to you, it is your choice how you spend your time outside the definite demands of work or other commitments. You can always choose to carve out time and hold it. What it takes is a shift in priorities. I use the analogy of holding on to so many things you must drop something to pick up something else. Often what you choose to drop is something that is not a priority or does not serve you well. Change is about shifting priorities, and shifting those priorities leads you to examine how you spend, and sometimes waste, the time you have. Two things I immediately examine with clients is how much time they are spending on social media/their phone and how many projects they have left undone (loose ends). Redirecting phone/social media time and tying up loose ends by finishing projects always frees up time and energy for making a move.


Overall, if we move from thought to action, act despite our fears, trust our instincts and make change a priority, we can GO and move forward. We all have the power of choice, so choose to focus on strengths, visualize some success and begin your journey.

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