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I'm not ready


I hear this phrase, "I'm not ready", quite often from clients, or potential clients. Perhaps I invite them to conversation club but they don't "feel ready" to speak with other English learners. Or perhaps they aren't ready to commit to my self-study speaking program because they are in a very busy period at work. This is a completely normal feeling, and we often do it with the best of intentions. We want to wait until we feel more relaxed, or that we have more time and energy to be able to dedicate ourselves to our learning better. It's totally legit, and I do it all the time. But I want to take a second today to put this into perspective for you, because, let's face it, life happens, and "feeling ready" often just doesn't.

 

When...if...as soon as...


Let's forget learning English or another language for a minute, and apply this, "I'm not ready" sentence to other areas of our lives. I am going to give you some practical examples where we all have said or would say, "I'm not ready", and then what usually happens after that.

  • Let's go back to school. It's the night before a big test, and you think to yourself, "I'm not ready, I'm going to fail". You say the same thing to all your classmates the next day, but despite your negative thoughts, you showed up. You sat the exam, and probably passed it. You couldn't decide to stay home (well, you could have, but sooner or later you had to take that exam), and you forced yourself to face a difficult situation.

  • What about your first job? I'm sure you thought to yourself, "I'm not ready, I'm too inexperienced...", but you showed up for the first day because your excitement about the fact of earning your own money outweighed your fear of not being ready for the position.

  • Moving into your own house? Perhaps with a roommate, or a partner? Maybe even in a new city? Did you feel ready? Probably not! But you did it, because your desire to be independent was greater than your fear of not being able to pay the rent.

  • Here's a good one...having kids?! From what I hear, you're never ready to be a parent. It's never the right time. But your desire to create a family, something beautiful, outweighs your fear.

I could go on, but what I want you to see with these examples is that you will probably never really "feel ready" to put yourself in a difficult, uncomfortable, unknown situation. Did I feel ready to start teaching English online when Covid shut down my school? Absolutely not. Did I feel ready to leave traditional schools and start my own online teaching business? OMG NO. Do I feel ready to launch and sell new offers and learning solutions to my clients other than 1-1 lessons? No, it's terrifying! But my goal, my objective, is bigger than my fears.


So please, next time you think, "I'm not ready", when it comes to learning English, or any other language, take a second to imagine your final goal. Go back to the image you created when we did our "what if...?" experiment, and let that be your motivation to take the first step, be it signing up for 1-1 lessons, a self study course, a conversation class, or even just deciding to start reading a book in English. Trust me, the hardest part is getting started. Once you start, you'll soon realize that you are capable, and that it's not so scary after all.

 

Glossary

  • legit: this is just an informal, slang way to say, "legitimate"

  • let's face it: to face something means to deal with or acknowledge a problem or difficulty

  • to show up: a phrasal verb that means - to be present

  • to outweigh: literally, to be heavier than something, but in this case, it means to be more important than something else

  • when it comes to + noun/gerund: this is a fancy expression we use to say, "about" or "regarding something"



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