When one action can make a world of difference

Before we jump in: my friend Maryann is 7.5 months pregnant with a baby boy and her big, scary, hairy goal is to finish her Ph.D. before he arrives. In order to do that, she needs just 37 more survey responses for her topic on how Gen Y integrates self-goals with their work purpose. If you are between the ages of 18-30 and employed full-time, Maryann would be very grateful for your help by the end of this week. Lots of big goal karma headed your way in return :)  When I tell someone—either here or in the states—that I have traveled to SE Asia on my own for two months, a fairly common response is something along the lines of, "Wow! You are so adventurous!"

I am flattered, but as I have reflected on this phrase, there is something you should know.

I don't consider myself the adventurous type.

I'm not all that spontaneous about big life decisions, and I teeter on the verge of analysis paralysis with the best of 'em. How much will this cost? How will the logistics work? What challenges will I face? Will I regret this decision? Will it help or hurt my life goals? How will it affect my overall happiness? What are the potential downfalls?

I did this for months (if not years) before finally making the decision to strike out on my own and start my own business—and now, here I am two years later, still standing to talk about it.

This trip was not booked on a whim either. I was absolutely nervous about planning and executing the whole thing! Where will I live? Will my coaching clients be okay with it? Can I find good Internet to run my course? What will I eat? And on and on...

In the end, my adventurous "spirit" came down to just ONE thing: the courage to book the plane ticket.

That's it.

It meant following my gut, getting support from family and friends (though even that won't always happen with our big dreams), and knowing that by taking just one bold action the rest of the details would fall into place—or at the very least feel more manageable.

Pulling the trigger on the plane ticket took me weeks of tip-toeing, hesitating and wavering, and that was many months after deciding for sure that I would go! But once I purchased the ticket there was no turning back, and I had the freedom to move out of fear and into planning and action.

The Man, who I am very grateful to say has been incredibly supportive of this trip, shared the following quote the other day from the movie Three Kings:

“The way it works is, you do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage AFTER you do it, not before.” —George Clooney as Archie Gates


Sometimes it boils down to ONE action. One critical, pivotal action.

Even if the rest of you is scared sh*tless, find the one chance you're willing to take and trust that the secondary steps will follow.

When Making Sh*t Happen isn't just a "nice to have"

Sometimes, though, even just that first step can seem insurmountable.

I have been so touched by the emails that have come in about the course this week. Many of you are ready to do big things, but have also expressed that you are in a tough spot financially, and I completely understand. You are in my thoughts, and I am sending positive energy your way for momentum this year in your career and finances.

To that end, it is very important for me to say that sometimes "Making Sh*t Happen" is about Making Ends Meet.

It is about getting yourself back on your feet. Building up your reserves, getting out of debt, or starting a small side business that can relieve some of the pressure you are feeling. So that you can breathe again, and sleep through the night.

While the Make Sh*t Happen course CAN be about some big glamorous life experiment, it absolutely does not have to be.

Many of the alumni and members of the current class have participated at a time when they were fed up with struggling and wanted some emotional support and structure to get back on their feet. The course costs $400, but I have every intention to help those of you who enroll earn that money back and then some, if that is a focus for you.

We have an outstanding, inspiring group of people assembling so far, and while I cannot make any promises about what will happen when the ten weeks are up, I can assure you that you will be amongst friends and a new "family" who will be by your side at every pivotal step to get you where you want to go—whether it's booking a plane ticket, getting a business off the ground, or getting back on your feet.

Enrollment closes on Sunday at midnight, and the course officially begins on Monday. You can read more and enroll here.

No matter what, I look forward to supporting ALL of you — course or no course — in whatever ways I can on the road ahead!

I'd love to hear from you in the comments: When have you made a big life change that started with just one pivotal decision or action? 

This post originally appeared on Life After College. I have imported selected posts from 2013 to catch new readers up to speed. Is that you? If so, a) awesome! And b) check out the new here guided tour. For long-time readers, nothing new in this one!