What would you try if you knew you wouldn’t fail?


July has arrived and I’m over the halfway point through my summer break. Yet, I still have many thoughts on something I heard at the end of the school year some five weeks ago.

The end of the school year is full of celebration and reflection. A tradition in most high schools is for the graduating seniors to write some sort of advice for the yearbook. A local radio show did a couple of segments on this topic: one sharing what they wrote for their yearbook once upon a time and one about what they would write today knowing what they now know.

Something that was said has stuck with me these past weeks. The host shared something to the effect of how successful people never ask for permission or acceptance to be successful. He talked about how a lot of people work on things privately, or not at all, because they don’t want other people to know in order to avoid weirdness and awkward conversations.

How true is this! How many people today haven’t even taken the first step toward their dream or even a hobby because of the risk of failure or having to explain themselves to other people.

What would you try if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

Failure is inevitable, especially when starting something new. But having to explain or justify why you’re not successful can be tough.

For years and years, I never shared my love of writing and desire to someday publish my work. I stuck a toe into the water on Facebook years ago, but I had a code for what I was doing—“Plan B”. I know, right? How silly was that! I don’t even know what Plan B was supposed to mean except that I was working on something for me but I wasn’t ready to share it yet.

Then I finally got over it. I realized that I don’t need someone else’s permission to be a writer. No one needs the approval of others to work toward their dream, start a new hobby, or to try someone new.

Our journey belongs to us alone.

I want to believe that most people in this world are kind and encouraging. There are some who’ll mock you, roll their eyes, or make things awkward (Why don’t you have an agent yet?). But don’t let the few stand in your way of doing what your heart yearns for. Your life is not their journey. Don’t let decades pass you by because fear of failure has you stymied. As the big 4-0 looms over the horizon for me, I realize just how many years I’ve lost because of fear of failure or because of what other people thought of me.

Start today. Make a list. Get the ideas out of your head and make them real. What new hobby do you want to try? What adventure is waiting for you? What is holding you back?

Oh, and if I had the chance to tell my 18-year old self something, it would be this: Spend more time looking inward and trusting in yourself than looking for outside validation.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

~Steve Jobs

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