A very talented fellow lawyer dreams of being an actress, but fears she won’t be able to pay her rent. Writer friends keep saying they want to be published, but don’t even finish a book much less enter contests or submit their work. Some maintain they’d like to start a business or change jobs, yet hem and haw. (Others opine about wanting to end unsatisfying or dysfunctional relationships, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Maybe those who wish to pursue creative or new endeavors fear rejection or failure, and/or maybe their families/significant others don’t understand or approve. But staying afraid is debilitating. By making excuses about why this isn’t a good time or why we can’t have what we truly want without even going for it, we’re letting ourselves down.
The cliches hold true: you only have one life to live, you aren’t getting any younger, if you’re not in it, you can’t win it. I believe if there’s something you really want to do, if you find yourself frequently thinking about or talking about accomplishing X, Y, or Z, start doing it. The pursuit of most dreams doesn’t require you to jump in the pool only to be shocked by cold water. You can dip your toe in. Each baby step you take should help you gain the knowledge, courage and confidence to keep going and take more and bigger steps. Just keep moving forward. For example, the lawyer can take an on camera class to have something current on her resume, get new headshots, and then interview with agents. She doesn’t have to simply quit her job, but can start saving money toward that end.
Take the time to prepare and do the groundwork. The writer probably shouldn’t simply dash off a few chapters and expect to get an agent. But the writer who learns her craft and about the industry can bolster her courage and learn to accept that rejection is just a part of the business. Find support, either via trusted friends or online. Those who want to start a business, for example, can uncover all sorts of information about how to write a business plan, start networking, etc. Set specific goals and deadlines, and share them with your supporters.
There’s no time like the present. What can you do today to face your fears?