It takes a lot of confidence to accomplish just about anything these days.
In a world driven by social media, our lives are on display. Even if we don't post, our friends will, or families, or jobs, or sometimes even a stranger who happened to catch you in the background.We are on display. It's nerve-wrecking be so exposed.
It's hard to go out on a limb. There's an acute risk of failure and an even greater risk of failing publicly, since everything is public now. If you try and it doesn't work suddenly the WORLD has access to your defeat.
I'm terribly afraid of failure.
This is going to be a ridiculous story to explain the inspiration for this post. But it's true, and this is how my brain works. So don't judge me.
Last week, there was a loud thud on the window in a co-worker's office. Driven by equal parts sincerity and nosiness I went to investigate. It turns out a little bird didn't see the window and flew right in to it at top speed (the thud) then fell to the ledge just below. Mind you, this window was not Windex commercial clean or anything, the bird probably just wasn't paying attention. I get it little guy, I get it. Suddenly half the second floor was worried for the well-being of this bird that was now hiding in the corner of the ledge. We checked on it regularly to make sure it looked like it was breathing. A few of us even volunteered to climb up a ladder to the second story window and rescue it. Google told us to leave it alone and give it time to recover (did you know it's actually a crime to take care of wild birds?).
It hit the window around 11 AM. We spent the rest of the day worried about this bird. Making an action plan of what we would do if it didn't fly away on it's own. Planning a small, respectful bird funeral if necessary (maybe that way just me). Making calls to those who might know more. We were invested. All the while, this song was stuck in my head.
Are you ready for how this ties in?
It was the bird's own fault, but we all wanted it to succeed anyway. It made me think about how much people want to support other's in their success. We give advice from our hearts. We give encouragement. We express our concerns. We watch from afar as others need time to brace themselves before taking flight. Very few people wish ill on others. Instead, knowing you tried against all odds and pursued your goal is commendable. Some people may even be jealous that they haven't been brave enough to do the same.
It's scary. Getting to the ledge and knowing you have to make a choice. Around 2 PM the bird started pacing around the platform a bit. We were worried he wasn't ready and if he tried to fly away he might fall to the ground. But then he went back to his safe corner to wait a little while longer. We were happy. By 4 PM, the bird had flown away. I checked on the ground as I left to make sure he had actually recovered. He was gone. Congratulations, little guy.
You may have to wait for your time. You may have to approach the jumping off point a few times before you're ready. People may look down expecting you to fall, but only because they want to make sure you're not hurt. Only you know what is worth the risk and when you're ready to take it.
I'm not sure what's next for me after my service year that will end in less that 2 months, but it's time to step up to the ledge and get ready to fly.
Are you facing any challenges or risks in the near future? Are you scared of what others will say or think about your choices? I'd love to know. Maybe we can all take the leap together.