Getting Ready to Be Ready…

Around ManilaForeign Service Life
July 13, 2010

Like the picture above, I’m at a place with my coaching where certain elements are crystal clear and others are just beginning to come into focus.  Ever since I found coaching 3 years ago, I knew that, without a doubt, I had found the vehicle to get my message out.  The thing was, I just didn’t know what that message was or who it was supposed to reach.  3 months ago when it became clear to me that Cancer Patients were my people, there was this amazing sense of peace; a screeching halt to the non-stop searching I’d been engaging in for years.  The message materialized magically from there and I knew that I did indeed have the engine to power my vehicle now.

Oddly, once I decided to accept the “calling” to be a Cancer Coach, something strangely unfamiliar showed up in my life, namely: Paralysis.  Now fear I was familiar with, but this paralysis thing was an entirely new beast.  It sweet-talked me into taking naps instead of working on programs.  It whispered that there was “no rush” and then quickly changed tactics and made me feel overwhelmed.

This puzzled me because in the “World of Sarah” once I say yes to something and have a plan of action it’s really only a matter of weeks, if not days before I’ve manifested that thing and turned it from an idea into a reality.  Lag time is non-existent in my world.  So how to explain this inability to move forward with the thing I’ve been waiting forever to find??

It was only after talking this week with a mentor coach of mine that I was enlightened to a new way of looking at my perplexing behavior.  She listened to me articulate the above and instantly responded, “Oh, of course.  You’re simply getting ready to be ready!”  I think I responded with something like “Come again?  What the heck does that mean?”

She went on to explain that similar to having a baby, a major life choice can require a preparation period in advance.  A gestation period, if you’d like.  It is during this period that we make alterations in who we are being, so that we can consciously step up into the new path we have chosen. (ie: being a parent, coaching Cancer patients, etc.)  It made perfect sense once she said it, because there really was no other explanation to justify this abnormal behavior.  It also correlates with a common thing that frequently trips me up – failing to see value in “Being”.

As I’ve explained before, I’m a do-er.  My family were do-ers too and at some point I created a belief that my time was only being spent valuably if I was do-ing.  So you can imagine the tension that’s been inside me for the last 3 months since I knew exactly what I was supposed to be DO-ing, but could only seem to BE.  It was insanely frustrating, to put it mildly!

Instead of continuing to beat myself up, I’ve decided to change my perspective and see this “Being” phase that I’m in as something of value.  Just because I can’t SEE something happening, doesn’t mean that shifts aren’t taking place, right?!

I AM STATING THIS FOR THE RECORD: Starting today I will accept that I’m not ready yet (and be 100% OK with that)….. because, you see, I’m simply busy getting ready to be ready!  And when I am finally READY, my actions are going to spark something that will be felt around the world… and that kind of impact, my friends, takes some time to get ready for!

Readers- Let me know what you think …. In what areas of your life are you “Getting Ready to Be Ready”?  Is this a useful concept for you?

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  1. Hiromi says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I know exactly what you mean. I recently launched cooking classes from my home and it took 2 years from when I decided to actually doing it. I think it took me that time to get ready. Unlike every other venture I’ve started, I’m taking this one slowly since I feel like it may be with me for the long haul. There’s no rush to get it done, When you take time to let things unfold. other opportunities present themselves that you hadn’t even thought of, to help you along. Best of luck, and turn off that right brain!

  2. minnesotagal says:

    Brilliant – thanks for the reassurance! I appreciate hearing your story…

  3. Naomi says:

    Yep, I’m a DO-er as well … (too much of a do-er, actually) and this last year has been frustrating for me since everything else in my surroundings were unfamiliar when we moved to Delhi.

    I need to learn how to be calm and serene in my periods of “BEING” because it is usually then (so I’ve been learning this last year) that I get the best base for my activities and projects going forward.

    I’m struggling to sit and BE with my lacrosse project here in Delhi … and it’s driving me crazy to literally and physically do NOTHING tangible towards my goal, yet it is all still ruminating and melding together … just a matter of time.

    Long winded, but I can relate!

  4. Alison says:

    This is a really interesting way of looking at things. I’m a do-er too and I feel extremely guilty just sitting and relaxing. My husband laughs at me because even when I decide, ok, now I’m going to read.. I’ll read a page or two and then check my email, get up and tidy something, look at recipes for supper, and then I’ll read another page or two. When I comes to big things though, life altering things, I stall. I wonder how long you can be getting ready to be ready before it just becomes procrastination or fear? Any thoughts?

  5. Naomi says:

    Ooh — just found a quote for you … very very fitting!

    “Life is all about timing…the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable…attainable. Have the patience, wait it out.”
    ― Stacey Charter

  6. Sara Roy says:

    “Just because I can’t SEE something happening, doesn’t mean that shifts aren’t taking place, right?!”

    YES! Often before a storm, things happen in nature that we don’t notice – but they “prepare” the area (for instance, animals leaving). Also, I believe there are a lot of changes that we don’t SEE happening during a pregnancy but we can FEEL. A lot of emotions develop during pregnancy that you didn’t have before, but carry over into motherhood.

    As far as myself. I’ve been getting ready to go back to school for years. I’m finally doing it this fall.

  7. Ah, Sarah, it still amazes me how in sync you and I are in life at any given point in time. You just articulated exactly what is happening to me – thank you; I, too, wasn’t sure what it was all about:) Getting ready to be ready actually feels pretty good now!

  8. Kristina says:

    It is interesting to me that what you wrote is what I have been trying to put into words for the past several months. I am preparing now for the next step of what I know I am supposed to do. I look forward to the future but am paralyzed to take the first step. I wonder if what I do makes a difference at all.

    Then today I read your entry and saw this quote within a matter of minutes. Then I read your entry again. Even more hit me than before. Thank you for the coaching you do for other and for yourself!

    “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~~William James 1842-1910

  9. elise says:

    Yay love it! So true. You have many gifts, just one of which is articulating difficult and overwhelming times and putting them down on paper. Thus making them seem so simple, so much easier to navigate… and for this I appreciate you!


  10. Katrina says:

    My dearest Sarah. I am getting to be ready… to win the lottery!!! Does this count? No seriously, I am 30 something, married mom of 2 and I still don’t feel like I am a “grown up yet” and that I am not one of “them” yet. Just getting ready for like to begin any day.

  11. minnesotagal says:

    Awesome – can’t wait to see what comes of your “BEING” time!

  12. minnesotagal says:

    Oooh, excellent question Alison. Again, I think this is another instance where a coach could help hold you accountable for what you want to get done. A lot of us need that kind of accountability (I know I do). In terms of knowing whether it’s getting ready or procrastination, I would start with the question: What am I afraid might happen if I _____ ? If there’s no charge to that answer, then it’s probably “getting ready”. If there’s fear or another emotion there, go another layer below and see if there’s another emotion hiding there. It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion, looking for the true emotion. Just keep drilling down with questions like, “And what’s scary about feeling _____ ? OR What am I afraid I can’t be with about ______ ?

    I’d really like to encourage you to try think about doing some sample sessions with coaches. Your comments make me think that it could be exactly what you need! Here’s a great place to start: Or here: There are even creativity coaches (since I know you’re an artist). I’m happy to recommend some all-start colleagues if you want. The majority of coaches are open to giving a sample session. I encourage people thinking about hiring someone to do 3-4 samples to make sure they find the right fit!

  13. minnesotagal says:

    Love that! Thanks for sharing… never heard that one before!

  14. minnesotagal says:

    WOW – Yay for you! That rocks Sara. I love getting your ‘mommy’ perspective, as that’s not something I’ve had the privilege of experiencing yet! The connection you pointed out to nature is fascinating too. Hadn’t thought of it that way…

  15. minnesotagal says:

    SWEET – I enjoy the synchronisity we have! It comes in handy so often for both of us…

  16. minnesotagal says:

    Kristina- That is so fantastic that this gave you some insight. Sounds like from the comments that it was spot-on for a number of people! I LOVE THAT… Can’t wait to learn more about what you’re stepping into. Trust that the path with emerge! And while I love that quote, I’m wondering if this re-write might assist us more at the moment:

    “Act as if who you are being each day makes a difference. It does.”

  17. minnesotagal says:

    Yay- I love it when doing my own personal work benefits others. That’s why we should never stop. Works in progress, we are!

  18. minnesotagal says:

    There’s something unfolding, it just doesn’t look like any of the paths you imagined before! Keep your eyes peeled for the intuitive bread crumbs… they will guide the way!

  19. Nona Jordan says:

    This is a beautiful post, Sarah… to take the pregnancy metaphor one step further, when you are through the labor phase and moving into pushing, there is a transition point where your body comes to rest in stillness. A pause before the hard work of pushing that baby out. That bit of stillness is critical to gather up all your energy and resources in preparation for birthing that baby.

    It sounds like you are in transition after the “labor” of discovering your “who” and “why”… I can’t wait to see how this next part of your career emerges.


  20. minnesotagal says:

    Wow- thank you for those marvelous insights into birth! I can’t imagine what ah-ha’s I’ll have when I actually go through the real process. And don’t worry, I plan to keep everyone posted on how this all unfolds! Sarah PS- I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that we’re going to meet in a year. That is so insanely exciting! :)

  21. Rod says:

    Funny how things work, isn’t it? I can somewhat relate to this post: Two years ago, after a long discernment period, I left my career as an urban planner to enter the Catholic Priesthood. Mixed emotions! It took me a long time to reach that point and it was extremely difficult to leave behind a career (and a life, for that matter) that had taken over ten years to build. But it seemed like the right decision, albeit a very difficult one. Like you, I just wanted to help people. I wanted to devote my life to service. I was dreaming BIG! And I was fired up! But most of all, I was ready. I had my eyes set on the long road ahead, but I also couldn’t help but look back every once in a while to see the trails I had left behind. Now, after two years of seminary, I’m at a standstill. Kind of like that place in someone’s blog she called “getting ready to be ready”. I’m hit with paralysis. I really want to move forward, but now that I’m “here”, I’ve hit some un/intentional snags, delays, whatever you want to call them…and sometimes, the more I think about it, it overwhelms me what lies ahead.

    This reading was just what I needed. I guess this is my getting ready to be ready phase. Despite all the work and sacrifices invested, I guess the message is that it’s okay to pause and take a break for a little while. This might help us enjoy the ride better.

    There, without even saying anything to me directly, you’ve given me a (somewhat anonymous) outlet to express some struggles. So I guess you could look at this blog as an extension of your “mission”. You are helping people without knowing it. Just by your own insights and experiences and openly writing them. So, thanks for the help, Sarah!


  22. sarahlynn60 says:

    Wow Rod- I’m so touched that you connected to what I wrote (and were willing to share that experience with me). I now understand that ‘Getting Ready to Be Ready’ is just as honorable of a place to be as ‘Ready’. I hope you know that in your heart too! Trust that your path will be revealed to you in time – it seems like you are approaching it with exactly the right mix of curiosity and openness. I will offer up a few prayers for your journey. :) By any chance are you at seminary in MN? I went to both St. John’s and St. Thomas, both of which have seminaries! Just made me think of that… hope to see you offering insights on future posts. Sarah

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