Are you participating?

We all grew up learning from books and lectures. However, our greatest learning takes place when we actively DO something, when we participate.

Are you waiting for all the lights to be green, for circumstances to be perfect? If so, you'll probably be waiting forever.

Pay attention to your words. Are you saying, "I'm thinking about investing," or "I'm interested in investing"? Or are you saying, "I'm going to invest." Have you made a commitment, at least to yourself, to do what you know you need to do?

If you're intimidated by your investing goal, how can you break it into more manageable steps? Where can you connect with other people who've done what you're trying to do so you can learn from them?

Seek out mentors and coaches, people who will keep you accountable. But realize that others won't want to commit to helping you if you're not fully committed yourself.

Don't let life - and the opportunities to create the life you want for yourself - pass you by. You don't have to jump into the deep end of the pool, but at least wade into the shallow end. Participate.

Original publish date: February 12, 2010