I’ve spent some time recently thinking of people I admire. Some are famous, most are not, but they shine in my eyes for the way they live their lives and their willingness to try and accept the possibility of failure over the security of never trying. I like to think in many ways I live my life under that same general principal. By most standards, I’ve done things that would leave the ‘average’ person quaking with fear as they scurried off to their 9-5 job, but by my own standards, I’m a bit of a coward. I fail to dream big working from the idea that if I allow myself to dream small and then work to fulfil those small dreams, I can call myself a success and hold my head up high. I’m calling myself out today…right now in fact. I have told myself my whole life that real success, you know, the big Oprah kind or even the smaller lesser known ‘B’ list celebrity kind were reserved for other people.
I realize now that I wasn’t the first person to tell myself that, and that I was told something similar in my early childhood by my parents who love me and were trying to protect me from big disappointment later on. They always told me I could be anything ‘practical’. I tell my own children they can be ‘ANYTHING’ so long as their willing to work towards their goal and really invest themselves in it. I’m fascinated that I can tell them that without taking my own advice, and yet in my head I feel myself struggling with my parents voice versus my own.
How can I be a great example to my children if I am not willing to take my own advice? What’s the worst thing that can happen if I try and fail? Will I have to wear a scarlet letter on my lapel? Will my nose grow or my hair fall out? Will I DIE if I don’t succeed at EVERYTHING?
Everything. Therein lies the problem. If I consider the EVERYTHING I can imagine wanting to do in my lifetime, I am overwhelmed. Before I know it, another day/week/month/year has passed and I’ve accomplished not one more thing on my big Oprah-Life list. Crippled with the massive pile of ‘to-do-or-die’, I don’t make any move at all.
So what’s a person to do? I remember the old adage:
How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
With that as my mantra, I am starting a list of the things I want to do but haven’t made the time and I’m going to whittle away at it…not all at once, but one item at a time. I’ve already started making a dent by joining WordPress. I made another earlier this year when I sent out a children’s story I’d written for my kids to several literary agents (becoming a published author is for other people, right?) and two months later, received my first ‘rejection’ notice (you can’t be rejected if you never try. I kept my rejection letter with pride that I TRIED). A few months ago I was accepted into a few local art shows (just because I have a degree in art doesn’t make me an artist, does it? It’s not a very practical career choice, is it?). With the click of a button, I will have posted my fourth blog post of the year and my second this month on a blog of my very own (don’t you have to be interesting to have a blog?). When my shoulder is healed, I’ll take kite surfing lessons out at Jetty Island. When my back is healed, I’ll restart my training for the 202 mile STP ride and actually complete it (hopefully next year). Those things are just for ‘serious’ athletes, aren’t they?
Every single published author was once unpublished. Every working/paid/showing artist was once unknown to the art world. Bloggers who are well known started with a single post. Kite surfers started with a desire, a bit of a need for an adrenaline rush and a will to fly. Cyclists who ride STP are of all ages, degrees of athleticism and ‘seriousness’ but they all have it in them to straddle their bike saddle and get on the road for an experience of a lifetime.
I’d love to stay and chat, but pflusliuahgbe (sorry…chewing on my first big bite of elephant)