Do What Scares You

This family of bunnies has been following me around since the early days

Yesterday, I did something that was equal parts scary and thrilling. It’s been months in the making. For the rest of 2016, I’ve cleared my calendar to devote myself entirely to an idea that I can’t stop thinking about. The idea’s wind song stays on my mind. If a tune doesn’t spring into your head when you hear those words, check out this 1998 commercial. He just can’t seem to forget her!

This Wind Song Idea of mine can’t be easily ported to an app or crowdfunded on Kickstarter. It won’t intrigue investors with a pitch deck — aka. it’s different from the products I’ve seen thrive in my 10 years working in tech in San Francisco. But I believe it’s worth the dedication of my time. I believe if I execute this idea well, there’s a chance I could make a positive contribution to your life. The idea is this: I want to give you good advice. Not my good advice, not life coaching, not inspirational quotes straight off the Hallmark Channel and onto your Pinterest board. I want to find solid-gold-to-the-soul wisdom to help you get unstuck the next time you need it.

The idea came to me when I was stuck earlier this year. During this challenging time, my husband, my friends, and my parents were the keys to my coping. On one especially rough morning, I wanted to call Momma B, but knowing she wasn’t at home, I had a thought that surely gets me labeled evermore as an elder-millennial—I wish there was an app for that—an app with all the advice from my parents that I can listen to whenever I need it.

Instead of getting sucked into my phone as punishment for my moment of robo-no-connecto, I turned my mind to memories of other wisdom-gathering experiences. I remembered being on set for the filming of the first batch of classes for MasterClass. My favorite moments weren’t when Dustin Hoffman or Serena Williams talked about their technique or work experience, but when they shared their wisdom from their personal experiences. And of course, that wisdom doesn’t have to come from a famous or accomplished person to be meaningful. To be truly meaningful, it just has to be presented at the right time and to the right person. I started looking at the world through this lens — Who has advice to give? Who needs advice? Who has a story to share that could be helpful to someone else? Who’s wise? Advice is a crazy untapped resource!

The more I thought about it, the more I saw this pursuit as part of the trajectory of my design career. From YouTube to MasterClass to this Wind Song Idea, I want to get to the heart of using technology to make meaningful human connections. So on June 1, I took the next step on my path and quit my job.

My office for the next few months

Since then, I’ve been hustling my bustle, doing contract design work and saving up, so I can have a few months of my own undivided attention to give this Wind Song Idea a go. Having the summer and half the fall to percolate on the how part, to slow-roast this idea, has been really helpful. I think I have a good sense of what I need to do in these next two months. I’ll refrain from paperbacking it all here, but in addition to plans, I want you to know that I definitely have many fears. My biggest fear is that I will produce nothing. As this fear has grown, so has an encouraging inner voice, which actually gets me to what I want to share with you today.

At the risk of sounding straight off the Hallmark Channel and onto your Pinterest board, here’s what’s on heavy rotation in my head as I start my own business. I hope a few of these ring true for you too.

  • Everyone will have an opinion on whether your idea is good or not. No one can know if it’s useful until they can use it.
  • When you are in the business of making things, you will need to hear opinions and feedback. It’s crucial that you ask for this when it’s helpful and protect yourself from it when it gets in the way of creating. Or as my husband says, Stay inspired.
  • You have only one resource to start this business — your time.
  • Some days will be better, more productive, more inspired than other days. The more you work, the more you learn your work’s gait.
  • If you’re not being rejected regularly, you’re not trying hard enough.
  • You DO have a boss, Rebecca. Her name is Rebecca. She deserves your time just like any other boss.
  • And a classic from Momma B: Do what scares you. That one I did make into a str8-off-HalliChann-onto-your-PinniB quote card, suckahs!!!

And with Momma B in mind, here’s a part of my Wind Song idea that I’d love your help on: I’m making an advice podcast. What better way to learn about what makes good advice? Each episode will include a life question from a friend that I collected this summer, advice from Momma B, also collected this summer, and then advice from other wise individuals. I’m collecting that advice now. If you would like to tell me about a wise advice purveyor in your life, please do: