I’m Not Ready Yet

Often an employee who wants the freedom of being her own boss will make a statement about her lack of readiness. Have you considered what makes us ready or not? Readiness is a self-described, subjective state of being that is not usually given the consideration it deserves.

Often when folks declare a lack of readiness they can’t answer this question. What exactly needs to change for you to be ready? This tells me that they may not really be working on their readiness but complacently existing in the never-never land of avoidance.

I think it’s fascinating that in our games playing we get set and ready. Skeet shooting wouldn’t be much fun unless we were primed and loaded for action. Try catching any ball when you don’t know it’s being thrown. Yet in life, when much more is on the line, we don’t often invest in the same level of awareness or preparedness.

Some even prefer a ready-fire-aim philosophy. These folks would rather be thrown into the fire so that they are forced to adapt and respond. Is there a more effective way to increase our readiness? I think there is.

Yet are we ever completely ready for big life challenges? I’m not sure we can be or even want to be because then our sense of adventure would be dimmed.

But there does seem to be a readiness progression of sorts that can certainly make us more ready than randomness does.

1). Willingness is a state of openness and receptivity to the possibility of change. Readiness begins with being willing to change. Without willingness we aren’t even in the ballpark let alone the game.

2). Fitness is just beyond willingness. It’s when we’ve begun to condition ourselves to the possibilities and various scenarios that could happen.

3). Alertness is just beyond fitness. In this state we are poised and primed for action. Here we have crossed over the line of expectation by making a deliberate decision. We now know that we’ll make our move.

4). Preparedness is the final most advanced stage of readiness. It’s when we know that the move or change is imminent and we stand confidently ready to face it. This is the “bring it on” state of mind that says I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

At what stage of readiness do you find yourself regarding your next big move?

What do you really mean when you say you aren’t yet ready?

When you say that you aren’t ready, do you have a strategy for readiness or is it more likely a defense or excuse against action?

What makes you feel like you’re ready?


  1. I’d say I’ve just entered the Fitness stage. I’m past being willing. I’m diligently taking focused action toward my goal now. But I wouldn’t say I’m poised and primed. There is much preparation to be done before I can launch my dream officially. But that’s fine.

    For me, not being ready means I have not yet achieved certain levels of competence in tasks necessary to my goal. I’m currently studying a horsemanship program with professional goals to be an instructor/horse developer. There are strict requirements for the applicants. I’m still in the home study stage. That’s one of the things to achieve, passing the last two levels. Another stage is to overcome my trepidation about certain horse maneuvers, such as galloping, jumping a specific height, and so on. I’m ticking them off one by one, but it’s a process.

    Thankfully, the program I’m studying provides plenty of strategy for readiness. My only excuse is when I avoid going to the barn or avoid working on a more daunting task.

    I’ll feel ready once I’ve passed the last home-study level, and am able to confidently gallop, canter bareback, jump, and perform advanced maneuvers. I’ll feel ready once my horse has learned to read my cues and respond off the slightest suggestion but not until I ask. I’ll feel ready once the estate closes, the houses have sold, and the money I need to pay for my dream is safely in hand.

    Great post today.

    JBs last blog post..Deciding

  2. I think we have to acknowledge that we’re never quite “ready” for that leap of faith off the cliff – and inevitably, that’s what a big move feels like. Sure, we can have a financial parachute or a big net of support systems to catch us … but the fact is that we are still going over a cliff!

    If we wait for the fear of the unknown to go away, we’ll be waiting forever. Many people, I think, are prepared – but are still chanting “I’m not ready” because the final leap is daunting, no matter how ready we are.


  3. Sometimes being not ready really means that – some criteria that we have set which would mean us being ready has not been met.

    However, a lot of times, not being ready is just an excuse to stay in the comfort zone for a longer period of time and avoid the fearful unknown. (Reminded me of exam time – When no amount of studying is enough :))

    Avani-Mehtas last blog post..How Did You Form Your Current Anger Management Style – Anger Management Series II

  4. People perceive change to be difficult, not realizing that they can grow so much more when they decide to make a change. Procastinating hardly solves anything. Most of the time, I believe that the reason for not wanting to make a change is an excuse rather than one made for some strategic reasons. One thing we should never delay in doing is to being happy Now.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..25 Ways To Nurture Your Soul

  5. I see myself in the fitness stage. So, I’m nowhere near ready in the real sense of where I want to be. But I am having some thoughts on directions to go. Is it time to take it to the next level? Probably. Is this thought scary? Yes. It’s fear that holds me back – and that’s even though I know in the process I’ll be doing what I love.

    All that said, I am happy where I’m at today. I’m taking steps in the direction I want to go, and I think I’m continuously moving in that direction.

    Lances last blog post..Lost In This Great Big World

  6. JB Congratulations man, you are indeed in the midst of increasing your readiness. I can tell by the level of detail in your comment. My only advice would be to feel your feelings fully when that occasional avoidance comes up. Then of course follow-through with action.

    Andrea I agree. Like you said regardless of readiness it’s still a cliff and a leap into the unknown. Yet I have found that by making frequent leaps the fear definitely has lessened.

    Avani that’s a good point. Sometimes there are readiness requirements for certifications like JB is working through. Yet that’s not what stops most folks. Most simply do nothing and magically wait for the time to be right. Those folks die still waiting.

  7. When I was playing with the thought of starting my own business I discussed it with a friend who wanted to dive into the waters with me. We began with considering a different business than what we are doing. We sent out a survey to prospective customers and then decided there wasn’t enough interest in what we would be offering. So we changed directions to doing what we are now doing. I’m glad because this business is a better fit for my gifts and passions. Once we made the decision to move on, we set up meetings with each other and set agendas to move forward with purpose and intent. We have even made a flow chart showing all aspects of our business and color coded it to show which one of us is responsible for that aspect of the business. So far, so good. BUT, while I think this process helped me structure the move into self-employment, I was motivated by a poor working condition where I kept stepping on land mines. One gets tire of losing body parts for a buck.

  8. Hi Tom

    I know it’s been said before, but I think we just need to start things – do something and then see what the next step is. Some people project too much into the future, and everything becomes too daunting.

    I know not all fields lend themselves to doing things one step at a time, but that’s how I try to approach things (and I think I have just got used to being scared!)

    Robins last blog post..Think And It Shall Be So

  9. Hi Tom – I guess if we’re saying we’re not ready yet, we’re not really prepared. So, i’m guessing that what we really need to do is prepare ourselves well enough that we are ready. Am I guessing right?

  10. The progression you describe sounds like getting ready to run a marathon, or at least a 10K. I like this approach.

    Marelisas last blog post..20 Ways to Raise Your IQ

  11. Evelyn you sound strong today. You’re right of course 9 times out of 10 just diving in and starting is what we need.

    Lance keep asking yourself those tough bottom-line type questions. By doing that eventually your next move will become inevitable.

    Laurie necessity is the mother of movement. Pain can be a great motivator. I’m happy for you.

    Robin I know what you mean about getting used to being scared. There’s good and bad sides to that coin. For awhile I got so used to surviving that I didn’t even consider thriving. Too much of anything dulls our intentions.

    Cath we’re either not really prepared or we don’t feel like we are; it’s the same thing. To your guess, we can either prepare until we’re ready or change how we feel, either way works.

    Marelisa Different approaches lead to new levels of confidence and different results. Most often that’s all we need – a lift in confidence.

  12. Hi Tom – for me, I’d have to say willingness is the most important part of a big move. I might mentally say “Yeah, i want to do it and will someday do it” but until my willingness crosses that certain threshold, someday usually means never.

    Al at 7Ps last blog post..What’s More Important: Who You Are or What You Do?

  13. Hello Tom,

    In my observation: We do not fear the outer world experiences; we fear the experiences of unlimited potential within ourselves. We are only ready when this fear subsides. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing such an insightful article full of helpful/useful information! 🙂 Keep up the delightful work.

    Have a Consciously flexing day,
    ~NIcholas Powiull @ Conscious Flex

    Nicholas Powiulls last blog post..How to Attract Money into Your Life & Get into the Mind-Set of Abundance (My Personal Experience): by Nicholas Powiull

  14. Holy cow! You wrote this post on the day I orginially tried to quit my job! (They asked me to sleep on it.) Laurie pointed me to this blog, for which I am eternally grateful.

    Phase 2 of the ‘working for myself plan’ was to develop my life coach business. Your blog is sheer providence.

    I think if I had to say, I am in “preparedness”. I am mentally prepared but could be moreso financially. I see now how I have ‘moved’ through these levels unconsciously.

  15. Mark McCullagh says:

    Great food for thought in that post. Thank you for that.

    Most of the changes I wish to make in my life involve changing my beliefs about how I think and feel about things. In other words, I am working on changing my self-talk – the thoughts and beliefs that I have held for a long time that keep me “stuck” in certain patterns that I would like to transcend.

    To this end, I have started working on opening up and a big part of this for me is beginning to practice Hatha Yoga again seriously, which for me helps me to open up my body and thus open my heart.

    Mark McCullaghs last blog post..What The Beatles Can Teach You About Internet Marketing

  16. That’s a tough question to answer – How do you know you aren’t ready? None of us know until we go ahead and make the leap.

    I fall into the I’m not ready category because I’m still building my network up. I know what I want to do and for the most part how to make it happen, but I need connections to do this. I know that I will never be 100% ready, but I understand that when I’ve got friends that I can help as well as they can help me then I’ve crossed the invisible barrier to starting my own business.

    Karl – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..6 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss

  17. Great topic Tom. It’s something I hear a lot of from my age group, the desire to branch out on their own but fear they’re simply not ready. Yet when questioned why they’re not ready many people simply draw a blank!

    For myself, and I imagine many other people, a large aspect of readiness is financial. Moving from a steady paycheck to an unknown income stream is a scary thought, if one has not prepared. You’re right about the first step, to build a cash reserve you must be willing to give up certain amenities in the present. It’s amazing that some people make six figure salaries but have little to no savings in the bank!

    Fitness is a natural progression, as putting money aside means you’ll have to live a leaner lifestyle in the present. It’s a great analogy.

    Now, with preparedness, I’ve read some case studies about entrepreneurs who simply jump into their business and succeed! It seems some people have a natural tendency to do their best when times are most dire and their backs are truly up against the wall. I wouldn’t advise such a course of action but for those who can make it work, more power to them!

    I really like Andrea’s analogy of going over a cliff, we don’t know where we’ll land until we take that step into the air and let gravity do its thing. Sure, we can bring a parachute with us but we won’t know if it’ll work until we go!

    Adam Pieniazeks last blog post..Meet the Members: Adam Pieniazek

  18. Nicholas many do fear the unknown upside of possible results as well as the internal feelings you’ve observed. You’ve made a good point that readiness doesn’t happen until fear subsides. I guess that’s why we need to feel the fear and go for it regardless.

    Hayden – holy cow back at you! Well, what happened, did you think on it and quit as intended? The one way to beat the lack of a financial reserve is to create so much action that you don’t need a reserve.

    Al that’s a powerful observation. Try this question. What would cause me to increase my willingness to move forward now? Then do that.

    Karl even though we never become truly ready we can increase our readiness. keep asking questions like this. What do I thin increased connections will do for me that I don’t already have?

    Adam keep calling your age group out on that. They need to understand that no decision is still a decision and often not the right one. As for you, you seem to have thoroughly examined this process and have prepared yourself well for success.

  19. Hi Tom that was really an interesting read

    but for a moron like me how never take the call of action, this all sound too much of hard work and dedication,

    its always someday for everything for me, i do things only when i have too, not because i want to do it 🙁

  20. Thanks for the article Tom 🙂

    I want to leave my job and freelance full-time. I would say that I am at the alertness phase. I’m definitely ready but because I’m a single parent and our finances aren’t great I can’t make that final leap until I have enough saved up. If it were just me, I would do it more, but since someone else is dependent on my I need to be more cautious.

    I’m glad, however, that I don’t fear the change. I’m looking forward to it – I really can’t wait.

    Kim Woodbridges last blog post..Stuff This in Your RSS – 9/16/08 – Shows Recently Added to Hulu

  21. Mark sorry I missed you the first time around. Your comment was in the spam folder but I’m glad I found you. Being aware of limiting self-talk is a wonderful first line of defense in creating the life we want. I’ve enjoyed Yoga as well – there’s something very calming and centering about it.

    Sunil well, at least you do things when you have to. Obligation can be a motivator but it takes a lot more energy to keep it up that way. I also so think you are being way too hard on yourself. You’ve created a wonderful resource on your blog.

    Kim that sounds like an outstanding plan you have there. It makes sense to make your move when you are emotionally ready as well as financially. They are very much connected. Please return and tell us when you’ve made your move.

  22. Hi Tom,

    “Some even prefer a ready-fire-aim philosophy. These folks would rather be thrown into the fire so that they are forced to adapt and respond. Is there a more effective way to increase our readiness? I think there is.”

    This statement seriously caught my eye. Many people seem to have to allow themselves to get the feeling that they have no choice but to take action. Willingness is the first step toward positive momentum. Thank you for the inspiring article. Options are always available if we are willing to consider what we have to gain.

  23. Sandra – Yes you’re right about that. We can keep our head about us and see options if we just slow down and look for them.

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