Years ago I responded to a quiz in O (Oprah) magazine which asked the question, ‘What’s holding you back?‘ The majority of my responses revealed what I already knew. A fear of failure.
Whether I’ve been procrastinating a long time or I’m just a late bloomer, the moniker is not as important as what it suggests. Fear of what might happen had the ability to dictate how I approached, or in some instances, completely avoided potential opportunities.
As a teenager, I used to swim at a park pool in the summer. Once I impulsively decided to try the high dive. But when I climbed the stairs and walked to the edge, I looked down and froze. Instead of jumping into the cool blue water, my feet did an about-face and led me back down the stairs. Mortified and embarrassed, I fled to the bathroom to hide until my heart stopped pounding. That’s kind of how I felt when I started working as an independent consultant. Companies were laying of. I had bills to pay and a burning question beating me on the back of my head: can I really do this on my own?
For most of my professional career, I had the safety net of a company and a steady paycheck to sustain me. That ended in 2008 when I faced a difficult challenge and survived. I have been reinventing myself ever since. (hence the Twitter handle my3rdact). To make positive things happen, I need to get out of my own way, make different choices – in the people I surround myself with and the battles I believe are worth fighting. It hasn’t always been easy to do; I’m a work in progress and each day gets better.
With each new venture, I gain the confidence to do what I advise others: be true to who I am, my talents and abilities to accomplish my goals, and take risks even though I’m not certain of the outcome. It’s all part of a plan designed long ago, and not by me.
I don’t know what my next act holds, but there will be less hesitation when I’m faced with what I perceive will be a difficult challenge. I’ll assess each situation and look for a positive opportunity. So move move out of my way, far and doubt! I have God and courage walking with me on my journey. It’s my time.