Don’t worry about failures. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. Jack Canfield.
Oh, how quickly fear can bite us!
Last week I wrote about redirecting myself towards cultivating kindness. I wrote about taking my time, letting the ideas percolate, not committing too early to just one thing. I was in control!
And now here I am at my laptop at 6 in the morning. I’ve been awake since 4am wondering how, and if, I can successfully build and launch a relatively complex website by mid November. Where am I going to get web developers to turn it around quickly without compromising quality and user experience? How can I solve the back-end challenges around administration and financial management? Can I really do it as quickly as I want to?
A week after saying I’d take my time, I’ve committed to something big and given myself a ridiculously optimistic deadline to launch before Christmas!
Why? It’s totally aligned with my intentions for cultivating kindness. It’s what I yearn to do. It makes me excited. I’ve shared the idea with my closest and cleverest friends and they are behind me all the way. I’m onto something that’s new and exciting and could make the sort of difference I want to make in the world. And launching this side of Christmas significantly increases its chances of success.
I can come up with so many good reasons to do this and do it now.
But that doesn’t stop me from feeling fearful, from wondering if and how I can really pull it off, and from considering quietly putting the idea back in the box and going back to something safer for a while. I’m not ready!
But if I let the fearful voice win I will never be ready. I will go back to my comfort zone, stifle my creativity, and always wonder ‘what if’.
I’ve heard researcher and writer Dr. Brené Brown describe our unfulfilled creative dreams as ‘benign’ – if we don’t live into them they don’t go away, they fester and eat away at us.
I quit my job to create space for dreams. I have a dream, I’m listening to it and I am going to make it happen.
I’ve started the hunt for local web developers with the time and skills to build the website I want in the next two months. Maybe it’s crazily ambitious but I keep coming back to a Steve Jobs quote I shared in an earlier blog post: “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.’ And this from my very first blog: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.’ (Henry Ford)
I can and I am. I will have courage. I will collaborate.
I’m talking with others who can help me make it happen. I’ve bought website domain names. I’ve briefed my awesome graphic designer.
It doesn’t mean I’m not feeling the fear every step of the way. But it helps that I’ve labelled that fear. It’s not fear of not delivering, or of not doing it to perfection – I could write that off as experience. The biggest fear is loosing money. It all goes back to my deeply-engrained love affair with money. I found the courage to give up my job and my income, but can I risk loosing my savings too if I really fail spectacularly?!
Now that I’ve told all of you what I’m up for, my second biggest fear is failing publicly. What if you all watch me stumble, fall, and not get back up?
And now that I’ve named the fear, I can talk it down. Thank you fear, I hear you, and I’m doing this anyway! It’s worth it.
A question I’ve often heard asked is ‘what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’.
I would absolutely do this!
Brené Brown takes the question a step further: What would you do even if you could fail – because it’s so important? I’d do this.
I believe there is a voice inside all of us that knows what we passionately want to do – we just need to listen for it. I have listened to mine and now I refuse to let it be drowned out by the voices of fear. That would be a betrayal of myself and my dreams, and of the unique difference I can make in the world.
I might not be ready, I might trip and fall along the way, but I can do this. And I will.
… So that’s what I’m doing today. I’m going to find those amazing web developers, I’m getting my head around the back end challenges and how we solve them, and I’m making it happen. If you think you can help in any way, please let me know!
- Why did I share this? I could have saved myself the risk of public disgrace! For exactly that reason. Now I am 100 per cent, publicly, on the hook. And I am asking the universe to get my back 🙂
- A friend shared a very timely post with me last night. It begins: “Some of the saddest words that a human being can utter are these: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Yet, according to Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse, this is precisely the sentiment that, more than any other, sums up the main regret of people nearing the end of their lives.” The answer, it says, is for us to back ourselves. It’s well worth a read.
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