Leap of Faith — Transforming Fear

Where is your train going? — A memento from my Leap of Faith Class

(Train Context)

We are all headed somewhere in life, but none of us really no where. Some of us have direction. Others not as much. We have different modes of transportation and different routes of exploration. Different settings, different choices, different experiences. It is these differences that make the ride interesting. It is these differences that make the voyage fun.

So what about me? Where am I headed? Where am I going? And how am I getting there? These are great questions, questions that I ask myself everyday. While the destination may be completely foreign, the stops along the way are familiar. As I experience new things, I am becoming more and more aware of where I should be going and what I should be doing; although there’s still much (much) more territory that is unexplored.

Because I do not know, all I can do is guess, feel, sense what is going on around me and within me. For years, I have always dreamed of “being an entrepreneur,” whatever that means. And today, I’m continuing to pursue that dream. It’s silly, but personal and very real to me. If I can’t accomplish what I initially set out to do, I will feel inadequate. I will feel as if I have done something wrong.

But this is where it gets interesting for me. What is inadequacy? What is wrong? What is failure? And how are these feelings harnessed inside and provoked outside? I guess, when I think about it, my greatest fear is failure — but at the same time, I don’t quite know how to define failure. I guess, for me, as of now, there are two kinds of failure: objective and subjective failure. My objective failure is this — failing to create a sustainable and impactful business that has a life beyond my own. My subjective failure is this — failing to put forth my best effort and realize my full potential.

As I ride the vehicle of life, I am beginning to notice some patterns. There’s ups and there’s downs. There’s turns and there’s stops. There’s distractions and there’s hazards. There’s construction and there’s danger. There’s freedom and there’s organization. There’s cooperation and competition. This stuff is crazy, hard to fully understand.

As twists and turns come my way, it is my job, I believe to NOT GIVE UP in myself, in my dreams, in others, and their dreams. To not let the bumps and cracks lead to fatal injury.

So as a kid, why did I want to grow up to “be an entrepreneur?” Because at age 7, I had a lot of fun with the idea. I had a lot of fun creating my own space that reflected what I liked and what I wanted to see in this world. As I grew up, my understanding of entrepreneurship evolved to something greater than myself. And that’s where I am today.

This journey isn’t about me. It’s about us. It’s about doing everything we can to make our entrepreneurial dreams come true. Why? Because these dreams, if realized, will lead us to a more harmonious and just world. It’s about sticking with it through thick and thin so that we can maximize our personal sense of fulfilment and the impact that comes with it. It’s about failing-up.

So what’s at stake here? To take the leap of faith. Well, a lot. Or, a little. It depends on your approach and how good you are at managing risk. You could lose everything pursuing your entrepreneurial dream: your house, your car, your husband or wife, your girlfriend or boyfriend, and even yourself. Think about it, what is worth it to you? What are you willing to sacrifice?

For me, I’m unwilling to lose my health and my most important relationships. Because without these things, my sense of purpose and ability to function are completely lost. You need your health, you need your relationships in order to be OK. So the trick I believe is to take risk, but do so intelligently. Understand failure is part of the process, and work to get more comfortable with it but do not seek it out because it is destructive in nature. Fear of failure is both good and bad. It protects us from danger but often misdiagnoses what danger is.

So what do you have to lose or gain? What do I have to lose or gain? Failure or success. It is up to you, it is up to me, it is up to us to define what this means.