Well, here I am! What a perfect day to begin: leap day. I am coming to realize that I can’t wait for perfection until I speak up. I am realizing that if I wait until I have all of my ducks in a row and all of my evidence gathered, and all of my packages wrapped in the perfect way… that I will never stand up, that I will never express myself. I can’t wait until I have it all figured out because that is a task list that never ends.
I can see this all over my life. I wait until I have all of my feelings and thoughts formulated into a perfect pitch until I approach someone I am in a relationship with. I wait until I have an introduction, some number of examples and points and a conclusion until I speak up about something with my boss. I wait until I have the financial resources and a solid budgeted plan until I decide I’ll finally explore my artistic self. I wait until I have my words polished, perfected, and triple checked before I publish them on a blog.
I am here to tell you, that the safe days are over for me. I am ready to make mistakes and speak up before I have it all figured out. This website is going to reflect what I am committed to, and be in my true voice (not a polished and carefully checked voice that has sat on the shelf for three months before seeing the light of day). I am boldly telling you this because I want you to know that it takes vulnerability and risk to start something revolutionary in the world and I believe that foundations need to be set in authenticity and transparency.
I feel that we don’t move forward until we have it all figured out because we are afraid to fail. Fear of failure looms over me all the time. My fear keeps me from creating goals, announcing mistakes, and especially speaking up. Failure doesn’t mean anything! We make failure mean that we are bad, that the world is messed up, that we can’t ever try again, that we aren’t good enough, that the world isn’t fair, (enter your self pity here). All of this is completely made up. Simply, my fingers got tangled and I missed a lettr. It doesn’t mean that I can’t spell, or even if I can’t spell correctly, it doesn’t mean that I am stupid, that I am wrong, or that I have nothing of value to say. I dropped a glass and it broke. It doesn’t mean that I am clumsy or that I should never hold a glass again.
There is power and freedom in being the fool. When we declare something completely outrageous, we are no longer dominated by the looming shadow of failure and the fear of mockery.
– Terces & Matthew Engelhart (Sacred Commerce)
I’d like to share with you something that I am taking on practicing this month: speaking up without having it all figured out. This is a major stretch for myself in that I hate looking stupid and/or vulnerable. I have considerable anxiety around being caught in criticism without my defenses up, without my side ready to explain itself. I find myself repeatedly gearing up with evidence to present anyone who asks me about my politics, my decisions, my actions….
I am realizing that my compulsive need to have all evidence organized causes me to think of myself as separate from others, be in defense of the world, be a victim, and live a safe/reserved life. Gearing up by having everything figured out 100% before I speak up, I’m creating the world as something that I am separate from… as if there are teams to be on or not on. Not only that, but I am relating to myself as a victim of an agitator. I am believing that the world will attack me and that I must have everything organized and ready for battle to survive.
By not acting or speaking up before I have 100% certainty, I am living a stale and safe life… I’m living small and not growing. See bottom image of the treehouse- I’m visioning how this way of living is like living on the trunk of the tree, settling down and completely living on the most sturdy, solid and unmoving area of the tree (versus, see second image- getting out on the skinny branches: living without evidence. Growing and moving with fluidity). I’ve been living a life based on evidence, a small and passive survival technique that I am not committed to.
This week I invite you to get out on the skinny branches with me and try speaking up and acting before you’ve got it all figured out. I invite you to be playful and daring, this is what life is all about!
Where is fear of failure stopping you? What do you make failure mean?