It’s true – the adage that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It took me the better half of a decade side-stepping on the edge of the diving board, till I found someone in the water yell, ‘Come on over, it’s beautiful, JUMP!’ Thanks David Kane, you are an amazing person.
Life’s like that. We’re constantly looking for approval, for validation that we’re ok. A quote that I’ve always related with is,
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them.”
– Henry David Thoreau
For those who know which song we want to sing, we’re reluctant to – what if we croak, or go off key? Will everyone stand up and walk out on us?
Here are five lessons I learnt that may be useful for others staring over that diving board:
- Force the active decision: If you know what you want but are getting cold feet over leaving the security of a paycheck, write down what you’re thinking every day for the next 30 days. If you still feel strongly about it, force the decision. When you let go, really let go and free fall. Only once you do, you’ll experience what it’s like and conquer the fear that’s holding you back.
- Give yourself time to do nothing: Take a break and don’t think about what you want to do next, what you need to do, where the next paycheck’s going to come from etc. You owe yourself some brain-free time to just be. Smell the flowers, chat with a shopkeeper, read a book, stare at the ceiling, just drive, stitch, box, laugh, cry. Fight the urge to be ‘productive’ – its conditioning that prevents us from enjoying a life outside of work.
- Seek help, but take responsibility: When you’ve fought off conditioning to be ‘productive’ and start pursuing what you really want to do, talk to people about why. It will force you to articulate what you’re thinking, your purpose, your passion and how you’re going to make it work. Listen to what people say, but let the action you take, be your own. Own it, as an active choice, with only yourself to hold accountable. Congratulations, you’ve begun taking control.
- Go easy on yourself: Pace yourself. Start small. Find one customer who’s willing to pay you to solve a problem with your expertise. Take that customer, no matter how small. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to, you’ll figure that out as you go. For me, it was a small assignment to define the problem of child obesity and what impact would look like. I had no experience in the field, but teamed up with someone who had more than I and we found a way to make it work. I have been doing that ever since.
- And finally, it’s never perfect and that’s ok: We’ve got a firm today that’s already recognised with three awards and recognition, won 16 clients and attracted eight people to work with it. We’re building a business together and it’s more than I ever imagined.
Life has a wonderful way of moving forward when you set a goal, say it aloud and let the Universe conspire to bring it alive. Lose the fear, we only live once.
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.