When is the best time to plant a tree? Thirty years ago.

The next best time to plant one? Today.

I’m spending a few days at a cabin in the woods as we’re winding down our summer and transitioning into fall, a new school year, fourth quarter, and another season in our lives. As I shared last year when we took this same trip, sometimes you need to slow down in order to speed up. Our time away in the woods is like that… It’s a great time to reflect and refocus.

As part of my reflection, I started thinking back on some of the things that have taken shape since the beginning of this year. The Depth Not Width blog is one of those things. It’s something that I had imagined for years but hadn’t taken the leap to make a reality.

So what held me back?

First, I was scared. I filled my mind with negative self-talk and lies based on my fears and lack of confidence. I was afraid of the unknowns, not being as good as everyone else, disappointment, seeking approval… the list goes on and on. To be fully transparent, I was more concerned about what you would think of me than my own desire to chase my dream. My fear was all focused on outsiders. It wasn’t until I got comfortable with the fact that the opinions of other people didn’t matter that I freed myself up to act on my imagination.

Timing was also my enemy. I created a million excuses about being too busy or it not being the “right” time to start something like this. I kept waiting for the stars to align perfectly to start this journey. It wasn’t until I got comfortable that NO time would be the “right” time or feel perfect that I freed myself up to take a shot on my dream.

The last barrier standing in my way was the thought that it was too late to give this a shot. Circling back to where I started with the tree analogy, in some things starting yesterday has advantages over starting today. Starting this blog two or three years ago would have given me a good head start. It wasn’t until I got comfortable that starting where I stood was OK that I freed myself up to start writing and sharing.

Take notice of one thing. All of these “barriers” were things I imposed on myself. It was never a matter of money, resources, or ability. I just needed to shift my mindset, build some confidence (aka bravery), and start. The biggest thing holding me back was me.

The Takeaway

Start where you stand. Quit worrying about the past and what could have been or should have been if you started yesterday. Shift your thoughts to what could be if you started right now. Push back your fears, and stop allowing the chase of “perfect” to paralyze you. Ready, set, go!

P.S. Here’s a Bonus Takeaway

Make time to reflect. For many of us, this is a transition time between seasons. Slow down for a moment and spend some time thinking about the things that really matter to you over the next few months. Depth is a focus on the most important things, not all the things.