The Next Right Thing: Take Courageous Action

take courageous actionIn order to make your wildest dreams come true, you get to learn how to face your fears, understand that failure is perfect, natural, normal, and a thing to get really good at doing and feeling. Then you get to do the next right thing. Turning that to-do list into action by embracing fear and failure and doing what’s next for your own health, wellness, and joy. This is hard work and you can do hard things, my love. I know you can. 

Whatever your dreams or your goals are, they won’t come true until you take action to make them come true. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. That’s just physics. And one of the guiding questions that has been so useful to me each and every day on my path to becoming a healthcare provider, to setting up my shop, doing functional medicine, to closing the clinic and showing up here to do real root cause functional medicine work with you through life coaching and managing our minds is to ask, what is the next right thing for me to do?

I hear this so often from the folks I coach. That they wake up in the morning and find themselves staring down the barrel of a whole day, a full 24 hours, not knowing what to do next. With this huge massive to-do list sitting next to them but still worrying about whether they’ll choose the right thing to do, whether they’ll do it perfectly, they worry about getting it right, like that’s even a thing.

All of that can lead your brain into a ton of overwhelm stories and anxiety and thus a belly ache and adrenal exhaustion. 

All that spinning will never lead to the outcomes you want. It just keeps you stuck in those spinning emotions, stuck feeling sick and tired. 

Mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.

And I get it. Your brain may want to have it all planned out, to know the exact next 473 things you need to do to launch your program, to start your business, to accomplish your goals. Your brain wants to know how it’s going to turn out so you can plan for a future you don’t even know about yet.

While it’s wise to pause, plot it out, look at the big picture, it’s also so easy to get lost in the macro, the big picture, and to lose sight of the micro, the day-to-day. You can’t have a successful podcast with millions of downloads until you get a microphone. It’s unlikely you’ll finish that PhD if you don’t apply to the program first. Make sense?

So instead of spinning in the big picture each and every day and putting the weight of all of that, what will my life be, what is my purpose on this earth, why am I here, on your little back any given Wednesday, instead, having done that for years and having gotten nowhere with it, I’ve chosen to set aside a specific time each week to work on my business. On my life. To look at the big picture, to ask those big picture questions.

On the daily, I let that go and I focus on the tasks in front of me that will add up to my goal. I ask myself what the next right thing to do is and I simply move forward. 

Day by day, minute by minute towards my dreams.

Because I value my mental and physical health, I value my limited time on this planet and I want to be of service to the world and myself every chance I can, versus wasting time spinning in the useless question of what is the most perfect thing to do next. That story gets you and me nowhere every time.

So how do we take thoughtful, courageous action in the service of our own goals? 

How do you set yourself up to do the next right thing? Well, I’ve talked about the three As before and you know I’ll do it again. Awareness, acceptance, and then action. 

If we jump right to action without looking at our thoughts and our feels, you know baby, that’s not sustainable long-lasting change. That’s that quick fix business and we don’t do that in this family.

So awareness, acceptance, action is the start of taking courageous action, which means doing those three steps, rinse and repeat. Taking consistent, dedicated action until you meet your goal. Until you get what you want for your one perfect life this time around.

Sometimes those actions are small, like waking up and not grabbing the Instagram, not grabbing Facebook, but going to the gym. 

Then coming home, taking a shower, feeding yourself, and turning off notifications on your phone and your computer when you’re trying to do a writing project.

Sometimes, those actions, those courageous actions can feel enormous, like going to school, moving cross country. That’s the crux of it. Doing it and doing it, and you know I’m going to, and doing it well until you have your dream result realized.

This process is part manifestation, part thought work, part sweating it out and just doing what you told yourself you’d do because that’s what we do. We make promises to ourselves and we keep them. 

Key to this process of courageous action is learning to not give up, to stay with it, to not label failure as some terrible thing, especially when it feels scary or hard because you are dedicated to your result, your outcome, your dream.

You’ve dedicated yourself to going all in on your goal and not leaving your brain that cozy little out that most of us hold on to. The stories like, well, if this fails, there’s always plan B. I can always move in with my sister. I can always get a different job. I can always give up on this dream. I guess I’ll just be single and die cold and alone on a mountaintop because I’m not getting any dates on that one app.

Okay. And I hear these kind of stories a lot. In that line of thinking, that’s a dream killer from the get go. I want to invite you to let those stories go, which doesn’t mean you’re not putting money in savings and you’re not building that contingency as like, a thing that exists. 

What I’m saying is to not walk around being half in on your dreams and half out.

Because it doesn’t serve you to let your brain have such an easy escape. Because when the going gets rough, and it will, it will, being an entrepreneur, being a grad student, being married, being in partnership, being a therapist, being a construction worker, life is challenging.

And if you’re only half in, you’re half out. And when the going gets rough and there’s things that you need to do to show up for your dreams, will half- in you do it? Half-in me never did. That’s why it took me a decade to start this podcast. I wasn’t all in.

Once I got all in, once I did the thought work and the breathwork and got in touch with the fear that was keeping me from taking action, I was able to let those stories go. I bought the microphone. I show up for you and for me each and every week.

And key to staying the course are courage and persistence, and reminding your brain that you really just need to do the next right thing. Just one more little thing. Write the email. Don’t fret about it. Send the email. Don’t worry if it’s perfect. Put in the effort. Do the thing, and release it.

It’s perfect because it’s done. 

Doing the next right thing and then the next one is taking courageous action on behalf of your life and that is magnificent. 

I am where I am because I took courageous action for my own life. It took lots of small steps and lots of big ones. It took work for sure, and it felt hard and challenging and exhausting and so much along the way. Absolutely.

And sitting here talking to you, I’m so glad. I’m so glad I put the time in. And I know that you, you can fulfill your commitments to yourself too. And you can grow your own trust that you don’t BS you. I know that you can. I have that faith in you, my perfect love.

If I can do it, you can do it for sure. And trust, it feels amazing. Nothing in my life has been as healing as learning to do the next right thing from that place of profound self-love and being all in on my life. You get to choose a thought that helps you take the action you want to take. To feel into it and to get it done, whatever it is here for you.

What’s the next right thing to do here? Such a simple question, right? It helps let go of the stress, the drama. It’s just the next right thing. 

I grabbed a couple Sharpies and I wrote, “Do the next right thing, Vic. I know you can.” I put it up in my workspace so I look at it all day long. And I want to encourage you to do that too. To write that reminder on a Post-It, write it on your phone, post it in your workspace, your cubicle, wherever you’ll see it.

Remember, failure is a vital part of growth. If you don’t try and fail, how would you know what success looks like? Don’t fear failure, my darling. Embrace it.

Failing on purpose is a vital skill to cultivate. I encourage you to learn more about intentional self-care and failing on purpose.

Also, every effort counts. Multiple efforts are generally required to get something done, and that’s nothing to get frustrated about. Fail, fail better, fail again, and love yourself wildly throughout the process.

Finally, many of those multiple efforts will feel like failure. They don’t magically get you to your goal, and that’s okay. You get to learn something from everything you try and you can apply that learning to doing the next right thing thoughtfully, with self-love, and applying all of your smarts and best skills to it.

We don’t learn how to do the thing we want and need to do by endlessly reading about it, asking everyone about it. Just studying it. We learn by doing it. 

By trying, and yeah, likely failing, but it really is the only way through.

So here’s your homework. We start with, you guessed it, managing your mind, as we always talk about. Using awareness, acceptance, and action as our protocol. Next, set a goal. It can be big or small or somewhere in between.

I’ll launch a podcast, I’ll build a house with my bare hands, I’ll notice when I’m being judgmental or passive aggressive or having codependent thinking. I’ll notice when my own thoughts and feelings are keeping me spinning, versus just taking action and getting the next right thing done. 

Next, make a plan and break that plan into teeny tiny steps. Tiny steps. They’re vital. Next is act. Just do it, my darling. Just do the thing. The next right thing on the plan.

Evaluate. This step is vital. Ask yourself if that next right step you took led to the outcome you wanted or not. 

If it failed, then ask yourself how you can do it differently. Or if it worked, ask yourself how you can build on it and let it inspire you and support you as you do the next right thing.

Next is adjust. So try something new or if you’re moving forward on your goal, if things are working, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. Next right thing, next right thing, next right thing. And continue to take action. Be the actor in your own life, my beauty. Not just a passive rider on the train from birth to death. Take action again and again until you get to where you’re going to.

The only thing I have to do in this moment is the next step. I don’t have to think about the entirety of my life, the entirety of the universe, the entirety of this project. I can just do the next little thing. To launch my business, to get that raise, to make concrete lasting change in my life, to find a partner, to achieve my dreams.

So apply these principles to those wildest dreams and release those failures, bad stories, and release the pressure of thinking you have to do things perfectly because what even is perfection? Let’s be real. Perfection stories, it’s just fear. That’s always what’s under it. Fear wearing a different sweater, but it’s just fear.

And it’s okay to feel fear. I feel it all the time. The key is to embrace it, to love it, to appreciate and honor it, and to take a risk, to fail, to evaluate, to do the next right thing. This process is one of the deepest forms of self-care I’ve ever heard of and this is how we heal.

Thank you for taking the time to read Feminist Wellness. I’m excited to be here and to help you take back your health!

I know not everyone is into podcasts, so I wanted to provide digestible blogs to go along with the episodes! If you’re curious about the podcast and haven’t checked them out yet, click here.  

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