Wisdom Wednesday this week is all about what puts the ape in apricot. That’s right, my friends – Courage! We hear a lot about courage. When I say the word, what comes to mind? Stories of fire fighters who rush into burning buildings to save children? Guys who stand in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, protesting Chairman Mao’s Communist Regime?
Damned if I know, Kemosabe, but when you’re making those kinds of calls, you’re up in the high country.
No, no, that’s not the kind of courage I’m talking about. Today, I’m talking about a quite courage. The kind that doesn’t deserve medals and parades. I’m talking about the courage to do the thing you really want to do with yourself.
We all have two lives. There’s the responsible life where we go to a job every day, we do work that makes someone else rich and puts enough money in our own pocket to keep us from being homeless and hungry. If we’re very very lucky, we enjoy what we do. But more often than not, we simply tolerate it with varying degrees of success while dreaming about the other life. This is the life we’d prefer to be living, doing what we really want to be doing.
We humans are very good at coming up with reasons not to do these things that we love. We say we don’t have time. We say we’re tired. We say we don’t have enough money.
If any of those reasons apply to your “thing” that you’d rather be doing but aren’t, it’s time for some real talk – All of those reasons (yes, even being broke) are bullshit.
It’s all bullshit.
If there’s something you want to do with your life but aren’t, it’s time to sit up, look yourself in the eye, and ask yourself if what’s holding you back is really an obstacle or an excuse.
For me, the excuses were hiding the real problem – fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of being asked to explain myself. (Trust me, when you’re a socially awkward introvert, this is a real problem.) Fear of rejection and criticism and that I’m Not Good Enough.
I think those are pretty common fears. And they lead you to the big question – is it worth it? Is the reward for living the life you want to be living worth all of the shit you have to go through to get there?
If the answer is yes, then you know what you have to do, right? You have to pull up your big girl pants, put on some Queen, and handle your shit. At the end of the day, nothing is holding you back but you. If it’s really important, you have to find the courage to go for it. And no half-measures either. If you half-ass it, you’ll doom yourself to the failure you fear.
I am still learning how to get comfortable with those fears. You have to befriend them. As I understand it, they never really go away, even when you make it to the big time. But being brave enough to face those fears is what makes you a professional. Facing those fears is when you succeed.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” EE Cummings