You’re scared aren’t you? Me too. That’s why I still spend 8 hours a day sitting in a cubicle when I can only think of one good reason to do it, to pay the bills. There, I’m glad we got that out of the way.
But if you’re not afraid then something is wrong. Fear is the first sign that you are beginning to look in the right direction.
My life is filled. It is filled to capacity with tasks and other obligations to the point where I don’t have any room to think about what I really want to do with my life. I have removed any opportunity to create something by filling all my time up with activity. The thing is, going back several years I had a lot more time and I still never started anything or changed the world. Back then I had all the time I needed to work on something of my own and put it into the world, but instead I spent my free time entertaining myself. It was fear and laziness at work. I was afraid to try and do something that really mattered. I didn’t feel like I had what it took. So I did easy things. I entertained myself and slept in a lot. Now I have no time and I have been walking around telling myself that it isn’t fair that I don’t have time to go do the things I really want to do… to change the world.
The two scenarios are not much different. I am afraid so I go and do the easy things. It’s just that the former easy things have been exchanged for the tasks that keep me busy. I know how to do them, and I get to check the box. But they just keep coming. There is no end to them. I do have opportunities to step out there. I have opportunities to connect with people and to bring change to the world, but I’m still waiting… waiting until I’m ready or until I have something that I feel is ready to bring to the world. I’m starting to realize that I will never be ready. The list of things that I should be doing to maintain my normal life exceed the spare time needed to do them. The dreams that I have, the things I want to do with my life, they quickly turn into a new list of tasks which get added to the list that I already don’t have time to do. When I look a little deeper I realize that I hide behind the tasks. I have made holding this normal life together a prerequisite to the pursuit of my dreams.
I now realize that I cannot have both. I cannot have a normal life and still do the courageous work of offering my gifts to the world. One of them must go. If you do not make a deliberate choice it is made for you. The forces in this world are pushing you to cling to the status quo. They are imploring you to fit in and to be practical. We all have a choice and a tremendous fight on our hands. The battle is not won by mastering time management or attaining high levels of efficiency. It is won when we decide to stop hiding. When we decide to step out from behind the flurry of activity and begin to engage as our true selves. If you wait until you’re ready or until you have all the i’s dotted and all the t’s crossed you will never start. Your gift will rot within you.
Every choice you make, every gift you give, every conversation you have is a chance to change someone. You can bring life, and as soon as you realize that and start bringing it you will see resistance rear its ugly head. You think you’re afraid now? Just wait until you start trying to bring real changes.
Is it crazy to start something without any idea of where it will end up? Is it crazy to step out of a boat onto the water without knowing if you will sink? Is it crazy to pick up all your stuff and head to a foreign land without any idea what awaits you there? No, it isn’t crazy. In fact, pouring your whole heart into something without knowing how it will end is the only way to have a life worth living. We do it naturally when we have children. We pour our whole lives into raising them despite the fact that we don’t know exactly how it will go. We know we’re going to make mistakes, but we know they are worth it. We know that regardless of what happens, it’s worth it. Something about them warrants that kind of commitment. We are also somewhat predisposed to doing the same thing when we fall in love. We feel like we want to go for it and if we get the courage and can convince the other person to commit we are all-in. What about the rest of our lives? What about the gifts that have been entrusted to us? Do they warrant that kind of commitment? I think that the things that make life worth living are the things we put our whole selves into. Every great person who ever walked this earth lived this way. They may have had a dream, they may have had a vision, but there were never any guarantees. They just went. They got in touch with some desire within them and they went after it.
So, this is a blog by a guy who has decided to stop hiding and step out of the boat. I don’t know where this will lead me, but I intend to find out. I hope you do your own version.