People wanted to see changes in government, healthcare, and more. Change was the theme. Change is what we got!
Now, to be sure, change bothers some folks. Ok, a lot of folks.
They get so comfortable in their rut that even if they are headed down the wrong path and KNOW it, they stay the course because it doesn't involve any change.
People sit in a room they hate because they don't have the energy or the inclination to change the furniture around or to paint the room.
As for me, I LOVE change. I used to routinely move offices around every 6 months. It was a great chance to clear out old stuff and get a fresh start. I’d step into that office and my perspective “changed”. I’d be re-energized just from having my chair in a different spot. Change is exciting for me. It gives me a chance to start over, to clean up and clean out, and to go to work on a new place. I make changes in my own life often as well. I like to try new things and go new places and do things I haven't done before. Some events have been memorable. Some, I’m still trying to forget.
However, the reality is that most of us won't change – even when we know we should. Why? There are lots of reasons. Fear is certainly one of them. In fact, in reflection of many I know, maybe the biggest one.
Years ago I read a great little book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Read the book when you can, but just internalize the title for right now. No matter how you prepare or what you do, you are going to be afraid. No way around it. I am afraid quite a bit of the time, I have to admit. Yep, that’s me! Despite my background in communications and public speaking, I always face the internal questions I have about my ability when I get in front of people. I get scared, but I can generally blow through the fear and conquer the situation. I feel the fear, but I do it anyway.
While I am often afraid of what I have to do, I am even more afraid of not doing it. In truth, if there are no immediate external consequences for nonperformance, I usually create my own. No, I don't punish myself or ground myself for not doing something. I just create the consequence of disappointment. I am disappointed when I don't achieve what I set out to achieve.
That’s not true when I've done my best. I never beat myself up for doing my best. I am only disappointed in myself when I have done less than my best. However, I am most disappointed when I don't achieve something simply because I have been too afraid to even give it a shot.
To begin a journey and not make it is forgivable.
Not to begin the journey at all is unforgivable.
What is the worst that could happen?
This is the question I always ask myself when I am afraid to do something. If the worst that can happen is “I'm going to die,” then I don't do it. But that is rarely the answer to anything I am going to attempt. Oh sure, when I was younger….but THAT is another story…..
Usually the worst that can happen is that I won't do as well as I had hoped for. Or I might embarrass myself. Is that really so bad? Even if I do it and do it badly, it is better than if I had never attempted it. So I go for it. You aren't going to die from going after more success, happiness, and prosperity either. Ask yourself, “What's the worst that could happen?” Then go for it. Besides, the worst thing that could happen rarely happens anyway.
I read recently that Dana Torres, the swimmer, won a Silver Medal during the 2008 Olympics at the age of 41. I remember watching her in an interview with Matt Lauer where the topic was her age in comparison with other Olympic contenders. She said, “The water doesn't know what age you are, so just jump in and go for it.” The same applies to you as well. Life doesn't know, or care, how old you are or what other excuse you are clinging to, so just jump in and go for it. Colonel Sanders was 57 years old when he founded KFC.
Don't worry that you don't know everything. Don't get caught up in what might happen or might not happen. Don't be paralyzed by fear. Don't concern yourself with what others think. In fact, don't over-think the decision at all.
When an antelope hears a lion roar, he doesn't continue to graze and think about whether he should run or not. He runs. No thought is involved. He instinctually moves. Become like the antelope because, whether you like it or not, the lion is roaring.
“The way to do things is to begin.”
- Horace Greeley