You know that thing that you’ve been thinking about doing. The one that excites you but shit scares you at the same time. Maybe it’s that side project of yours? The one that you’ve thought about creating for a while. Or maybe it’s that next step in your career that you’ve been thinking about, but you’re afraid. You have a comfortable job, but the passion is no longer there and really want to try something different, but what if it doesn’t work out? Or maybe you are looking for a new job but don’t feel you’re qualified enough yet to make the jump.
Whatever the reason, these are all thoughts and phases we go through throughout our careers. The maybes, what if’s and self doubt that holds us back from taking the next step. Because what if it doesn’t work? So instead of taking action we settle. You may be reading and thinking I have it figured out, and that other successful people(on the surface) don’t experience fear or doubt. But the truth of the matter is everyone has doubts. But the people who keep moving forward, who keep challenging themselves are the ones who will do great things. The ones who will find fulfilment, their own truth and what success means to them.
I’ve done so many things that haven’t worked out. Work getting rejected. Not landing jobs. Failed side project ideas. There’s days where I’m shit scared and have self doubt just like everyone else. But I don’t stay in that space long, I don’t wallow there. I know that if I respect the process, find the right mentors/roadmap, and enjoy the journey I’ll achieve what I set out to do. The difference is it’s ok to acknowledge that fear and self doubt for what it is, an internal thought. You don’t have to synthesise it as your reality. Because it’s not, it’s just a thought... It is not an objective truth, nor a fact.
Play the long game, as long as you show up and don’t give in, it’ll work out. Even after the 100th knockdown – as long as you get up you'll have another shot to move another step forward. But if you stop after that first little setback, and not get back on your feet – you’ll never reach your potential. If you are already happy with what you are doing – no need to read on you rock! Keep doing your thing and trust your internal compass and don’t worry about what others have to say, myself included.
However if you are thinking about a change and navigating your way.
Even if you have no time for that side project, you’re scared that freelance might not work out, or you have a family to support so you can’t fail. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO TRY, and as the absolute worst case scenario PERMISSION TO FAIL. And even if it doesn’t work out, you would have gained a ton of insight to something else they may just work. You are investing in yourself and your growth.
A LITTLE STORY
My dad travelled to Australia in 1983, he was 29. A year younger than I am today. He was seeking a better opportunity to raise his young family post the Vietnam war. He boarded a fishing boat as a refugee with the same hope as countless others on that boat - a chance for a better life. I asked him recently if he was scared. And what it was like to leave all that you have known behind. He then said to me “it was worth it for the opportunity for a better life.” It is a blessing and opportunity that he has passed on to me. Frighteningly if that fishing boat didn’t survive the expedition, and if it “didn’t work out” everyone would’ve died.
If you are looking for that new job, dreaming of opening a studio, freelancing, launching a side project. Just know that if it doesn’t work out, the consequences probably won’t be as severe as my dad’s situation. And yet we make it feel insurmountable. I hold that thought with me often, when I try things that seem difficult. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have choices in life and try not to waste it.
Because of this I have the courage to explore and stretch my comfort zone. Because this is an opportunity to not only work but also to live our best lives. A gift from my dad, someone who took the courage to do something for his family.
I urge you to take the necessary steps to do what excites you. Even if it is a small step. Take it. Invest in yourself, learn and back yourself even in the off chance that it ‘might not work’. Maybe you’ll have no time to finish that side project of yours. Or that interview might not go well. Or asking for that pay rise won’t be so smooth.
In life a lot of the times, if it’s difficult it’s usually worth doing. And even if it doesn’t work out. On that 3rd,10th, or 50th try it may just work. And will reward you with not only all the amazing things that await on the other end but also a great journey, that tested your tenacity, patience and hurdles that you overcame which built your character. To dare to take that leap of faith and to do something that you got excited about and something that mattered to you even if it seemed difficult. To take that next step and opportunity for being your best self.