When you went to sleep last night, what did you wake up intending to do? 64% of us wake up 5 days a week and get ready to head in to work.
Since my divorce in 2005, I had been one of the 64%. Prior to that, I’d run a successful Agency for public speakers. As going through divorce often does, it tore my WHOLE life apart. Not just the emotional side. I lost the business.
Man I felt like a failure. I was embarrassed. I felt nothing short of defeated. Over the last 8+ years, I’ve allowed that failure to decide my (lack of) happiness. I allowed that failure to keep me from following my dream. Why? I was afraid I’d fail. Again.
So instead, I job hopped. A telephone sales job here, a serving job there. I was even a technology teacher at a charter school at one point. About 80% of the time I was doing those other jobs, though, I was also doing marketing on the side or marketing was part of my job description. I’d developed a few clients (and held them), but I was afraid to make this leap of faith.
There’s a certain sense of security knowing your employment is held by an employer. They take care of payroll. They take care of making sure clients show up. They take care of hiring and firing. All you have to do is show up and collect your paycheck every 2nd Friday.
Now, don’t get me wrong: As a society, we need people to do this. Without them, we’d have no medical workers, no legal workers, no public servants. But there are those of us who feel like we’re merely stumbling through life, keeping our head down all the way. We are the people who need to snap out of it. Why aren’t you following your dream(s)? What fears do you need to face to take your leap of faith?
Again, friends who love me gave me a nice little wake up call. A gentle smack upside the head to first, wake me up… and then – we began planning. In one single night, we planned what it would take for me to leave my “normal” job to begin this journey. The difference is that this time, I began with a bag full of lessons learned.
This journey is mine and now I know one thing. My past was not a failure. It was just a stepping stone to my success.
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ohhh boy. Woke up yesterday morning knowing that I had to do a fear blog because…. well… today is Friday! I had no clue what to do. I have enough fears, I suppose. But none of them (except for one) are paralyzing fears.
My friends who have known me for at least a couple of years – or those who have had the privilege of living with me – know this fear to be my biggest. Their funniest, but my absolute nightmare.
I think I developed this fear when I was around 12 or 13 years old. The movie Arachnophobia came out. My neighbor was scared senseless. I was bound and determined that i was going to show her what I was made of. I was one brave chick! So I watched it over…. and over…. and over… and over again. Until I fully understood EXACTLY why she was so afraid. And it stuck.
So yesterday morning, I decided. I know my fears may be puny – but these silly Friday blogs aren’t really just about me. They’re also about my readers. I want you guys and gals to take steps outside of your comfort zone to meet your fears .
In my case, last night wasn’t so much about overcoming any fear because I think a fear of spiders is something of a rational fear. In this case, it’s more about not letting anything get in the way of your dreams and your passion. Not a little spider, not a big snake, not fear of failure and not even yourself.
You’ll have to excuse my appearance. My hair had been under a scrub cap all day and I had to consume 2 glasses of wine and eat a Rice Krispie ® Treat the size of Texas before I even worked up the gumption to walk out the door. When I got to the place (which will remain nameless due to their less than ethical purchasing strategies… hey, it’s the only place around that had a tarantula. Back off. I didn’t buy anything.) the associate was with another customer and I had another 30 minutes of pure hell waiting around to hold a creature that I’m fairly certain was spewed from the mouth of Satan himself. My. Nerves. Were. Shot.
I told the associate of my plight to face my fear of spiders. I told him I wanted to hold one of the tarantulas at which he said, “on one condition. When I put this on you, you can NOT throw it if you get freaked out.” Done. The mission had begun. I began to feel my nerves actually calm knowing this venture was coming to a close. That is, until he opened the first container and said, “Ummm no. That one won’t work. Any time they pull their fangs up like that – I’m not messing with them.” I’m sorry… THEIR WHAT?! It’s ok. It’s clearly for the best that I didn’t do proper research before I had an 8-legged hairy monster crawling on my arm.
The second monster seems less peeved. Up and over… and…. ohmygoditsonmyarm!!!!!!!!!!! Breathing. Be very still. Don’t let the monster know you’re scared. They sense fear. They like the taste of fear. The monster most surely is going to bite me. Ok, you may now remove the monster from my arm.
As it turns out, the monster liked me. It’s when it had to trade hands to the associate that it decided to bite… him. Poor sucka.
Go do something that makes you grow!!!
Get out of your own way, already! Watch Tanya Geisler at Tedx – one incredible woman. In the words of Stuart Smalley, “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!”
Have you ever said, “I wish (fill in the blank).” “I hope I …..” “One day I’ll _________.”
While all of those things are nice thoughts, that’s all they are. Thoughts involve no action. If you want something badly enough, bust through whatever is holding you back (often fear of failure or rejection) and make that first step. A step, on the other hand… that’s action.
About 3 years ago, I had gone through two cars, both lemons and was on my way to my third. My aunt always talked about how she loved driving her car that was a manual transmission. I secretly always admired the fact that she was coordinated (and cool) enough to drive one. From the time I was around 23, each time I went car hunting, I thought about manual – but always ended up with an automatic. Self-doubt.
“You’ll never be able to get this thing all the way home.” “You’ll kill it 20 times, cause an accident and a traffic jam. You’ll be all over the news, be a complete embarrassment.” “You’ll get stuck on a hill, under compensate on the clutch and wind up eating someone’s bumper.”
All of these were possibilities. But I did one thing that most people don’t or won’t do. I asked for help. My cousin went with me to get that third car. A red, 2003 Mazda Protege 5. She took me to a parking lot a few miles away, spent about an hour with me going through the basics and… voilà!! Three years later, I stalled in traffic approximately 10 times. I rolled backward down 5-6 hills before learning how to work the clutch perfectly. I even …. blew the transmission. It’s true. But I did it. I made something happen that I’d wanted for 10+ years. Now it’s mine. And no matter how old my Bella gets (yes, that’s her name. No, she’s not named after the Twilight character.) – she’s my girl.
I’m well aware that taking thought and turning it into action involves the mind more than anything physical, but I think a particular law of physics applies here.
Newton’s First Law of Motion states that “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Objects tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing.” In fact, it is the natural tendency of objects to resist changes in their state of motion.
So do SOMETHING. If you don’t think you can do it alone, ask for help! You’ll be surprised how happy people are to help you. Even if it doesn’t work, you’re moving. You’re taking action. Maybe that unbalanced force Newton spoke of will be enough of a force to push you in the right direction. You won’t know until you do (not try.)
“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda