Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in limbo?
Limbo comes from the Latin word limbus, meaning edge, border, or the region on the border of Hell.
And if you’ve ever felt stuck in limbo yourself, you know it’s not a very fun place to be. It’s like being in The Waiting Place in Dr Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go:
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
The last time I felt stuck in limbo, I knew I was ready for a change. But defining it is something entirely different than doing it. So I made some massive changes to my life. Then I started doing things to figure out what was next. I started putting a few things out to the world … and I failed. I’d study things, change things up a bit, stick my neck out one more time … and fail.
Over and over it went; I felt like I was on the largest Ferris wheel on earth, and I was too far off the ground to get off.
But instead of kicking back and accepting my fate, I kept trying. I knew there was a way out of the Waiting Place, and eventually I found it.
Because I wasn’t true to myself
When I really stopped to analyze why I was stuck in limbo, I discovered it was because I was leading my life based on someone else’s vision of what I should do, not what I chose to do for myself. I chose to ignore what my interval voice was telling me. Instead, I accepted someone else’s idea of what I should be doing instead of standing on my own two feet.
Like the time I was having trouble bringing clients into my business. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do. So I took bits and pieces of ideas from all kinds of people in the same field as me, and put them all together to come up with my list of services. My list of services was literally a hodge podge of ideas taken from several other businesses in my industry – nothing said “me” in any way. Looking back, I see it was confusing and didn’t have a lot of benefits because it didn’t come from my heart. It didn’t give people the service that I do best.
I didn’t know who I was so I invented myself through the eyes of other. I didn’t want to share what I wanted to do because I was afraid I might fail. But by not being me, I failed anyway because the clients didn’t want to work with someone who they didn’t understand.
Trust me, when you give the best you have to give, people notice. And that’s when they start trusting you on a whole other level.
Because I got comfortable
I can’t do that!?
Have you ever noticed that the older you get, the more complacent you get about the things in your life. You have a house you’ve lived in “forever”, you have a job you’ve worked at “forever”, you have friends and family and relationships you’ve known “forever”, you have clubs you’ve been a part of “forever”, and eventually your life seems a lot like groundhogs day where you’re living the same day over and over again.
Why? Because we get comfortable. We get lazy. It takes a lot more energy to make a change than it does to continue with life as normal.
I felt that way when we originally started talking about selling our house, reducing our stuff, and spend more time traveling than we did taking care of our home. Looking at all of the stuff in our 3300sf had me filled with fear; could I really get rid of all of this stuff? I loved my gardens. I loved the memories I had accumulated along the way. But my desire quickly outgrew the necessity for living in a house that no longer suited what I wanted my lifestyle to look like.
It takes effort to step away from normal. It takes determination to see your life in a new way AND take the steps necessary to make it come true.
But if you’re stuck in limbo, you’re in the Waiting Place of life. And the only way to get out of there is one step at a time. The first step is deciding what’s next. The second is doing one tiny thing to make it come true.
Because I got scared
Deciding what’s next in your life can cause a lot of anxiety in your life. But unless you’re creating plans with a friend or spouse, chances are that change exists in your mind, and it’s not nearly as scary as the first time you release it to the world. Because releasing it to even one person means someone else knows your dreams. And once you voice them, it’s harder to let them die.
When Andrew and I first decided to sell our house and get rid of stuff, our end goal was to travel on a much more frequent basis. Yet the one nagging question we had almost from the beginning was “can we travel around the world and keep our business running too?” So we created a plan to see if it would work. And after six weeks in Europe, living, playing and working in some of the most beautiful locations in the world, we had our answer … yes, it was totally doable. Sure, we found some things that didn’t work. We found some areas to tweak. We made adjustments to the equipment we needed to stow away in our luggage. But in most cases everything worked seamlessly.
And it gave us courage to take the next step, which was even bigger.
A lot happens when you make a decision to change, and you take the first step to see it through. Sometimes you’ll find success. Sometimes you’ll find failure. Sometimes the worst can happen. But sometimes the best can happen too.
And it’s for those moments that make the risks far outweigh the thought of not doing anything at all.
Fear and being scared are not the same thing.
Fear has the ability to hold you back from being all you are truly meant to be. Being scared simply acknowledges that fear and does it anyway. We learn from the consequences. And in most cases, the end results will not only change you today, but will change your course of action from this point forward.
We all deserve to live the best lives possible. But in order to get out of the Waiting Place, to move forward after being stuck in limbo, the only way to truly get it done is to:
1. Trust yourself – after all, you always know best
2. Stop accepting the life you’ve always lived as the way you have to move forward from here
3. Look fear in the face, admit what scares you, and do it anyway
Come on, what are you Waiting for?