I could not have learned what I needed to learn without the learning part.

I could not have learned what I needed to learn–without going through the stages of actually learning. No one can.

Everywhere in my life, I have needed to dive in, to go, to see, to try, to do, in order to learn that which was and was not a match for me. There was no other way to learn, without actually experiencing the growing pains of the learning process.

You might think that that is the “duh” statement of the year–but I’d be willing to bet that anyone reading this could find at least one place in their life where they’re hesitating to change something (even something as seemingly insignificant as extending more kindness or compassion to someone or to themselves) until the circumstances are “better.” It happens all of the time, without presence of consciousness.

When you wanting to change something up, try something new, follow a dream, it can be so tempting to just wait–until circumstances are right, the money is “right,” the time is “right.”

But really, there are no “right” circumstances, money, or time in most situations.

We know what we know, and as humans we’ll act on what we believe we know before we’ll act on any other conventional wisdom. We leap when we leap, not when life has decided to hand us that which we desire on a silver platter. And even if life handed that out, there’s a decent chance that in our drama-obsessed culture (yes, the culture that you’ve probably received a decent amount of conditioning around) that something handed over easily would create a big, gaping, lack-of-drama hole that would immediately be filled with more drama (“I feel so guilty that it came easily to me and it’s so hard for other people!”).

When it comes to uncharted territory, there really isn’t a gauge or litmus test for knowing when to take action or when to not take action. Usually when people hesitate, it’s because they’re hoping that they’ll find a space where they aren’t experiencing fear.

That, right there, would be the ultimate recipe for a life half-lived.

There are no free rides where you don’t experience the fear. No one gets out of that part. People might seem to get out of that part, but I promise you that it’s not that they’re not experiencing fear–it’s that they’ve learned to work with it, accept it as part of the process, and not use it as an excuse to not do what they wanted to do.

Courage is: feeling the fear, diving in anyway, and transforming.

If you’re sitting on the precipice of some big change and want certainty and security, here’s what I can offer you: tap into the certainty and security that if you’re committed to framing your life from a point of happiness, you’ll do that, regardless of what comes your way.

I know people who have gone through the worst that life has to offer–rape, molestation, beatings, welfare, warfare, horrific abuse–and even though those were not the “right” circumstances, and probably didn’t happen at a “convenient” time (whatever that would be), and money was either irrelevant in dealing with the pain (cash is not exactly a salve for rape) or just wasn’t coming anytime soon, the resilience that we all admire from people who have lived through those experiences is that there’s a commitment to finding one’s way, no matter what.

Choosing to commit to finding your way, no matter what–that’s better than money in the bank. It’s allowing for the experience of fear, because that’s real and part of life. It’s another way of practicing courage.

You are your own best bet–invest 100%.