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Cover of blog author, Dete van Staden.
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Have you ever wanted to step out of your comfort zone to do something different, only to be held back by that little voice that whispers, “What if?” Not being aware of what the future holds is scary, and it often leads to thoughts such as, “What if I am not good enough?” Yet, the ability to take action despite these uncertainties moulds us into more resilient and adaptable individuals.

Today, I want to tell you that it is time to turn WHAT IF into WHAT IF I DON’T?!

Growing up, I always questioned why things were the way they were. I was fascinated with understanding and exploring the complexities of life and its elements.

My journey

Taking action has been the guiding principle that led me from questioning life to actively shaping it. After school, I decided to study Psychology, only to discover that after completing a three-year degree, I would still not be a psychologist. That did not stop me, and I continued my academic journey and enrolled for my Honours degree in Psychology. Upon completing my Honours degree, I realised that after Honours, I would still not be registered as a psychologist. I began to feel disheartened and began to question my career path.

At this stage, I knew that in order for me to become a registered psychologist, I would need to complete a master’s degree, an internship and pass Board exams! This thought was already intense, and doubts began to creep in. I found myself asking, “What if I don’t get accepted into the master’s programme? “They only select a few applicants.” “What if I never reach my desired destination?” “What if all my years of studying end in failure at the last step?” Thoughts of uncertainty overwhelmed me.

However, I decided to take a chance and apply for my master’s degree. I was fortunate enough to get accepted and dedicated myself wholeheartedly to completing the final stage of my studies. I completed my master’s degree and internship, passed the board exam, and registered as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist!! Take that—WHAT IF!

Trusting my abilities

Along the way, I started to trust my own abilities and silenced the doubts that once overwhelmed me. Through perseverance and taking action, I turned my aspirations into a reality, and today, I am privileged enough to help students every day!

As I reflect on my journey, I have realised that we all have different dreams and aspirations. We all want to learn, grow, and achieve our full potential. However, too often, our dreams remain just dreams due to our failure to commit and do something. So, how do we move from dreams simply staying dreams to making them a reality?

The answer is simple:

TAKE A*C*T*I*O*N*!

Taking action

Action; noun, the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition.

Action; noun, the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition.

Wait, let’s start over:

Action; noun, Act & Achieve, Commit(ment), Trust your own abilities, Inspire, Organise, Never give up.

ACT & ACHIEVE:

Taking the first step is the initial stage in any process. We all know how scary it can be to start with new opportunities, a new field of study, or even buy a new car. However, it all comes down to taking one simple step. One step forward in the right direction can lead to an unforgettable journey. The key is to act and not wait for something to happen to make your life better. If it were that easy, we would all be lounging on a beach in Mauritius. To see change, you must take the initiative, make the first move, and act. Whether it is registering for a diploma, participating in weekend courses at work, or signing up for extra training sessions, acting on every opportunity provided will result in significant positive changes in your life.

COMMIT(MENT):

The second step in taking action is to commit yourself fully. Once you have decided to act, it is important to stay committed and overcome any obstacles that come your way. When it becomes difficult, always remember why you started and why you are doing what you are doing. So why give up now? Remember the purpose and the bigger picture of why you are pursuing your goal(s). Reminding yourself of your motivation can pave a clearer path to success. Remember that commitment is not just a word; it is an action.

TRUST YOUR OWN ABILITIES:

The third step towards achieving your goals and taking action is to trust your own abilities. Often, we tend to be overly critical of ourselves. When that whisper of doubt creeps in, daring to say, “What If?” react and show the little voice in your head, WHAT IF I DON’T?! By believing in yourself and staying dedicated, you silence the doubt and whispers of “what if?” which will allow you to continue taking action with confidence.

INSPIRE:

The fourth step involves finding inspiration. You can inspire others by taking actions that help you achieve your goals. Do not be afraid to share your achievements with your friends and family. You worked hard to achieve success, so celebrate with others. Let them know what you have accomplished. You never know who might need to hear your success story to be motivated to follow their own dreams. You can also find inspiration from others who inspire and motivate you. A support structure of like-minded individuals who hold each other accountable can help you stay committed and on track towards success.

ORGANISE:

The fifth step towards taking action is to organise and plan. You need to organise your physical workspace, thoughts, emotions, and life in general. Balancing work, family, and studies can be intimidating, but taking action will be essential for achieving success. It may appear challenging at first, but you have already decided to improve yourself. Prioritising and organising your tasks will assist you in determining which ones need to be completed first.

NEVER GIVE UP:

The last and most important step is perseverance. NEVER GIVE UP. Even when it feels like you have reached your limits and the fruits of your hard work seem out of reach. Remember where you were before you started the journey. Think where you would have been if you never took that first step. You will experience setbacks, you will get demotivated, and the persistent whispers of WHAT IF will visit you on several occasions, but the most important aspect is to never give up on your dreams and aspirations, no matter how big or small they may be. Be kind to yourself. You will never learn if you do not make mistakes. If you fail, get up and try again. You will look back with a heart full of gratitude, thanking yourself for the resilience and determination that made your dreams come true.

LAST A C T (I O N)

As we navigate the path from dreaming to doing, we must recognise the power we hold within our actions. With each step forward, we come closer to our dreams, unlocking the door to a future where our best selves await. So, what are you waiting for? Knock on the door with confidence, ring the bell, and if you must, gather the courage to kick the door wide open!!

FORGET WHAT IF, AND ASK YOURSELF:

WHAT CAN I DO NEXT?

“Words may inspire, but only action creates change” – Simon Sinek

Sources of Action

Burchard, B. (2016, January 9). Take action in your life. Brendon Burchard. https://brendon.com/blog/take-action-in-your-life/

Canfield, J. (n.d.). 4 Steps to take action on your goals. Jack Canfield. https://jackcanfield.com/blog/taking-action-on-our-goals/

Edberg, H. (2023, March 1). How to take action: 12 Habits that turn dreams into reality. The Positivity Blog. https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-take-action/

Eschenroeder, K. (2023, December 6). The Overthinker’s Guide for Taking Action: A Complete Guide. StartupBros. https://startupbros.com/overthinkers-guide-taking-action-complete-guide/

Inktuitive. (2022, September 27). Why is taking action so difficult? Inktuitive https://inktuitive.com/blogs/blog/why-is-taking-action-so-difficult

SoulSalt. (2020, October 26). Taking action: 15 smart ways to go from dreaming to doing. SoulSalt. https://soulsalt.com/taking-action/

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