Home for the Holidays

I just returned from almost a week with my family in Texas. Although my luggage didn’t make it on the plane with me, at least I caught the flight and arrived home to two attention-starved cats. Clearly having someone check on them once a day wasn’t enough for them as they both have been running around creating a ruckus since I walked in the door.

Their distraction only lasted a little while before I began to process the conversations I’ve had with various family members regarding my decision to spend the next year pursuing my dreams instead of finding another “professional/corporate” job. As a result, I am feeling a lot of that fear I’ve written about and think perhaps my self-confidence got left behind with the luggage. I only hope it manages to come back with the rest of my belongings.

My brother Cameron is the most supportive, while also being realistic and giving practical advice. He is taking the route of developing a bee-keeping business while also working full time. He talked at length about the need for discipline and commitment, and even offered to help improve my logo.

My sister Allison, who is the only family member to have actually signed up to receive my blogs, is generally encouraging. However, when I asked her what she thought about my most recent writing, I found her response rather interesting. She said it seemed I was rather repeating myself, and if I were to read back over what I’d written I’d concur.

I don’t need to do that in order to recognize one of my most common themes has been working through my fears. I had an article about making friends with my fear and another about staying with it rather than running away. I wouldn’t be surprised if the topic is scattered throughout many of my blogs.

For anyone making a leap of faith, fear becomes an integral part of the process. We may have moments we get on top of it, but it’s rather like a second skin that never completely goes away. Its close cousin, doubt, never seems to be far behind.

My blog was started with the intention of sharing with others my journey as I make my way towards being a successful speaker and author. For anyone else taking a similar journey towards being self-employed, I thought it might be helpful to read about what to expect. Sort of like leaving a trail map or sign posts along the way.

So, when I am repetitive, it is because this path circles back quite a bit. The commitment to continue is one that will need to be made many times. And each time it is made, it will be accompanied by fear and doubt.

My 83 year old mom is trying hard to be supportive, but it’s not easy for her. First of all, she has absolutely no comprehension of why anyone would ever read a self-improvement (or, as she calls them, a “self-help”) book. Although she has incredible wisdom, which I have written about in my soon to be published article “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s a Mother” (link to come), when it comes to my passion for this field, she has absolutely no understanding.

Secondly, she has fears for her daughter, as most mothers do. What she doesn’t realize is that I’m battling similar fears every day, and work hard to keep moving forward in spite of them. I also don’t think she fully realizes that for me to give up before I’ve really tried feels like a bigger failure than potentially “wasting” a year or two of my life pursuing what she considers a “pie-in-the-sky” dream.

In addition to wanting my mothers approval, I also wanted to ease her fears, so I had a lengthy conversation with her about this topic. Ironically, while I think I was successful in at least easing some of her concerns, she was equally successful in raising mine. And so the path circles back again.

The bottom line, however, is a statement I made to her as we were talking: I don’t want to be on my death bed, looking back at my life, and wonder why I didn’t even try. So what if I fail? At least I won’t question if maybe, just maybe, I could have succeeded.

If you have a dream, you owe it to yourself to at least try to make it come true. And I like to think that Yoda from Star Wars is right when he said: “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.” And so, I will do … and I encourage those of you on a similar journey to keep making the commitment to move forward; and if you haven’t yet begun, start now.