Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I know it's odd for me of all people to quote T Swift, although I do like her music as many of you know. I spent a lot of my vacation thinking about and writing about fear. As I read 'Start Something that Matters' by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes, I realized how problematic fear is. As I read story after story of bold leaders with big ideas who created something out of nothing (like Blake who started TOMS with a bag of shoes from Argentina and a couple interns from Craigslist) I realized that while I've always considered myself bold, much of my life has been determined by fear.
I am a planner. I am an extreme over-thinker. And while I had a good, successful couple of years since college I realize that much of the path I've chosen has been out of fear of failure. I have resisted opportunities, shied away from new endeavors, and stayed where I feel safe because of fear. I'm afraid of failure. I'm afraid of debt (which is good, in most ways). I'm afraid of disappointing my parents, letting down my sisters, or leading my friends to question me.
One common trait that people who find success often have is this - they take risks. Calculated risks mostly but risks all the same. This is hard for me. I'm not a risk taker. I am a chooser of the 'sure thing'. Even when I choose the sure thing though, I question myself. I wonder what it would be like to cast off my cage of responsibility and be truly bold. I wonder what giant, awesome, passionate things I could accomplish if I would let go of this fear of failure and go big.
I came home and immediately plucked the book 'Fearless' off my bookshelf. It was given to me after hearing the author, Max Lucado speak at my work's banquet a few years back. This book has resonated with my soul this week as I read about how fear holds us back, the overwhelming theme of this month for me. The subtitle of the book is 'Imagine your life without fear'. That's exactly what I've been doing.
I read this yesterday morning in Lucado's book: 'the worship of safety emasculates greatness'. This is what I am realizing more and more. As I read Blake's book and was challenged by his willingness to put himself out there for something he believed in and do the work, I realized I crave that. I crave that level of passion. I desire the opportunity to experience that kind of work ethic. And I want to be a person who is more afraid of being average than of failing in a great attempt.
If only I were fearless, the great things I would do. But maybe you don't have to be fearless, maybe you just have to be unwilling to be controlled by your fears.