It isn’t fear of success so much. Not really. This is not to say that fear isn’t there because fear is always there. Isn’t it? Fear itself is neither good or bad. Instead, fear is only a factor. Fear is only a motivator. This is one of the prime movers in our system.
There is no fear of success. There is no fear of crossing the finish line. There is no fear of “Making it.”
No, the fear isn’t about success at all. Instead, there is a fear to acquire and lose. There are the fears of reaching for a goal, achieving it and then losing it.
There are the inherent fears that have nothing to do with success itself. No, the fear is for the effort it takes to maintain our achievements. There are fears about making it once, feeling the thrill and then suddenly we become old news. There are questions like, “How do we keep this shiny and new? ”
Go head, son. Take the shot . . .
I agree when people talk about the fears that go along with failure. There are fears of rejection and personal rejection, which, let’s face it; all rejection is personal rejection. All ideas of rejection are internal.
I understand awkwardness and the uncomfortable ideas that come with new beginnings and new positions. I understand the anxiety. I understand the bouts with shame. I understand the limitations we set upon ourselves. I know where this comes from. This comes from old experiences or old messages that leave us to doubt our abilities into becoming nonexistent.
I relate this to an initiative that took place years back. I was uncomfortable in my skin. I was in a debriefing with senior officials. I was with people that had degrees on the walls in their office. They were veterans with 30 years of experience. I certainly did not think that someone, such as myself, could or would be able to add anything to the conversation.
In truth, there was professional bullying at the table. There was a fair share of intellectual snobbery and title comparisons to jockey for position. There were people that made it very clear to me that I should “Stay in my lane” and let the professionals handle this.
The initiative lasted one week. The goal was to get as many people that were arrested in an operation to seek drug rehabilitation treatment instead of be processed and sentenced.
They did a news report on this. And I was shoved around. I was told where to go and what to do. My direct supervisors were behind me and supportive but there was a split in the room between two companies. This was more like a war between two worlds. Both wanted the same thing. Both wanted to see addicts get treatment. Also, both sides wanted theirs to be the name with the most recognition. There was a fight for the spotlight. And neither of them got it.
The news cameras followed everyone around. Everyone was interviewed and me, I guessed this would be me doing my thing. I never suspected that I would be part of the report.
And I was.
I was on the front page of the newspaper. I never did anything like this before. Also, I never knew I was capable of anything like this before.
There is a stigma that we put on ourselves. There is a thought process that is self-defeating. This comes after years upon years of practice. We perfect our sicknesses and our flaws. There are messages that we somehow believe to be true. This and this alone is the only thing that truly limits us from reaching our best life.
There are times when we find us in a new situation. We face new challenges. We have new opportunities that come with new and great promises. All of this is good but yet, there are natural fears that come along to act like a thief that steals our joy.
What if I can’t do the work?
What if I get the job and then they roll their eyes at me because they realize they’ve made a mistake?
What if I’m just a waste of time?
What if I give my dreams a chance and then they all fall apart; as if to say “Sorry kid. Better luck next time.”
Take the shot, son!
What if the fear of shame and failure is so overpowering that we quit before we begin?
What if we subconsciously fold because we expect the worst?
Why play if we believe that at best, all we can do is lose?
Take the shot, son!
These ideas are not uncommon. In fact, after long discussions with people regarding their missed opportunities, the sentiments were all too common.
There is another side to this coin.
And I’d like to invite us all to think about this side of the coin.
What if we hit the mark?
What if we surpass ourselves?
What if we become the star?
It’s okay to be the hero sometimes.
It’s okay to succeed.
What if this happens?
There is this creation that we call “Us.”
And rest assured, we are this creation. We have to give this creation the permission to go and be and live or die without so much as a blink of an eye.
We cannot become attached to the outcome of our production. We cannot become attached to the end-game. And there are times, which God, I swear I have felt this way to; there are times when doubt comes along to feed us a million complications.
There are times when old messages from past failures and old shames come into the mix. There are old tapes that play out as if to remind us of our so-called limitations.
Do Not Listen.
Do not be afraid to step out.
Do not be afraid to reach.
And dammit all; Do not be afraid to take the shot.
Do not be afraid to try.
Do not be afraid to fail or succeed.
Do not limit yourself with the labels of either.
Do not be afraid of the work ahead.
Do not focus on the unknown fears of what might happen.
The truth is no one knows what will happen.
Just take the shot.
Don’t overthink it.
Do not allow the complications in your mind to distort the view in front of you.
Keep your focus on your effort.
Pay attention to your output.
Keep training. Keep building.
Keep moving. Keep going.
Keep defying the fears and the doubts because this defies rejection.
This defies shame and regret.
Some people never reach for their dreams. Some people never take a shot because they’re afraid to miss.
There is a choice here.
Marcus Aurelius once said, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.”
Marcus Aurelius also said “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts,”
I like this.
I like what Socrates said as well. “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I like this because this encourages people to choose the path less travelled. This empowers us to live, learn, love, fuck up, fall, and if we have to; to try, try, and try again.
I have been working on this plan of mine for a very long time. I was reminded by a very close friend that I belong where I am. I earned my seat at the table.
It took me 48 years to get here.
I have this trick, see?
I have this trick that I’ve been working on, one piece at a time. This is my baby. And she is beautiful. This is everything to me. This is all my faults and fears, all my sins, successes and all my battles both won or lost. This is my heart. These are my secrets. This is my project that I have begun and abandoned and then come back to it to start over. I have this here, right in front of me but yet, I don’t know how big this is. Sometimes, this is bigger than the world and other times, this is a small glimmering piece of sand, which I use whenever life gets dark to light my way.
I offer myself this way to you because I never want to be proud or boastful. I want to be humble and modest. I want to be truthful without concern for the outside interpretations.
I want to do this.
I want you to be there too.
I want you to see this because deep down, I have a secret trick that I’ve been working on.
I want to share this with you.
The truth is we all have this. We all have our dreams.
We all have desires.
We all want that feeling that comes with the success of completion.
We all want the victory of looking around at what we’ve accomplished.
We all want the thrill of saying, “I did it!”
We’re all waiting for the chance to pull off our trick; so we can unveil it and say, “Ta-da!”
Don’t be afraid to pull that curtain back and show them what you’ve got.
Take the shot, son.
There are people waiting to cheer for you.
I know this is true.