The first year after my separation and eventual divorce, most people didn’t dare ask if I was ready to start dating. Those who had witnessed my heartbreak knew I was nowhere close. Others who did were merely trying to glue me back together. Some suggested,“the best way over a man is under a man” but I wasn’t about to find out if this was true or not.
During the second year of being single, I was less offended when my dating status was questioned. Not because the cracks were healed but because I had a good reason to stay out of the dating game. I was now emotionally ready to work towards a goal that had been temporarily set aside. No men for me, this girl was on a mission to compete in her first Figure competition. Every spare minute was devoted to training, meeting with my coach, tweaking my diet, prepping my food and practicing poses for the stage. All of this left no time to date.
My original plan was to compete in only one show. However, I walked away with three trophies, a pro-card and a strong belief staying single gave me a competitive advantage. Shortly after, changes in my health guided me to switch directions and retire from competing. I became laser focused on my writing and speaking career which provided fresh new excuses for continuing to ride solo.
Settling into my third year of being single, I’d grown quite comfortable doing everything on my own. It was no problem going to a restaurant and telling the hostess I wasn’t waiting on anyone else. No issue with buying just one ticket for a concert. I didn’t feel the least bit awkward going to the movie theater by myself either. Flying from Pittsburgh to Silicon Valley without a travel companion? No sweat. I was enjoying my own company and feeling proud for having this single thing down.
Then it happened while talking to a co-worker. The words, “I’m focusing on my goals right now and don’t have time to date” rolled off my tongue as they did so many times before. This time the words hung in the air like a heavy fog long after the conversation ended. Eventually the fog lifted and the only thing remaining was the small voice inside urging me to admit I was stuck.
We can make endless excuses for why we don’t do what we know in our hearts we need to do. At some point, the fog will clear for you too. When it does, you’ll find yourself standing in the same spot surrounded by excuses that no longer feel true. If this is where you are, I suggest doing these three things and do them fast:
1. Admit you are stuck.
“I am stuck!” Just say it out loud and call it what it really is. Being stuck is not a sign of weakness, it happens to all of us. Realizing it and owning up is the first step towards moving forward.
2. Open your heart and mind.
Assumptions close you off from great possibilities waiting around the corner. It’s easy to believe you know how things will work out based on how they did before. Your past is not your path so don’t spend energy trying to predict the future.
3. Do that which you are most resisting.
You have to do more than just admit you’re stuck. It takes bold action to make forward progress. Get quiet and listen closely to your own wisdom for direction. Most likely, your inner voice has been trying to tell you something but your excuses were louder.
As for me, I took my own advice and immediately subscribed to Match.com. Four days later, I sat at a Starbucks nervously watching the rain fall waiting to meet my first date. Minutes into our conversation, I knew I’d made the right decision. There’s no telling how the rest of the story will unfold but I do know I will keep turning the pages.
Hastie is a writer, speaker and creator of CenterStage! Her program teaches women how to step out from behind the curtains of their limiting beliefs and into their power. She believes women need to discover who they really are in order to live a more meaningful life.
The former pro-figure competitor used to be shy and hid under baggy clothes while working out. After witnessing a woman at her gym exercising with the lights off, she wrote 10 Steps to Become a More Confident Woman in the Gym, which you can download for free on her website. Hastie can be found in Pittsburgh, PA asking every new person she meets who has the best pizza in town. She is super organized and loves colored office supplies.