Building Rockets: What Do You Do When Fear Steps In?
I used to build rockets — metaphorical rockets. Some failed to launch, some exploded mid air, some lit up the sky and changed my whole world. Then, I stopped building them.
The reason was a series of events in a very short space of time: death, birth, marriage. I decided to keep myself safe. I no longer built rockets. I told myself that dreaming about the adventure was much better than the adventure itself. It was a lie. Safety kept me from taking risks, from disappointment, from failure.
If you are vested in your safety, you will have a heap of broken pieces with no universe to explore. Your world gets smaller and smaller and a part of you starts rusting. Eye rolling, a theatrical exhalation of breath and an inability to appreciate other rocket builders are some of the symptoms of rust.
You join the other side. You know, the ones who say it can’t be done. Nobody knows that you have joined the other side as it still all looks good on the outside.
The outside. Keeping the outside looking good requires a lot of work. Especially when you are not feeling like it. Keeping the outside looking good is done for other people.
I met a 62-year-old woman whose outside was pristine. Great family, friends, great life. For some reason, she invited me in. I mean really let me in and showed me the mess. She had hidden it from herself, from others. I sat there and listened to her tell the truth for the very first time.
The truth is amazing. It has the power to crack open any carefully constructed façade, to make you want to start again. This is what happened in our interaction. It made her want to change her life. It made me want to be braver in mine.
I wanted to share the part of her story that belongs to all of us, not just write it, or tell it, but book a theatre, perform it. No idea how to do the above.
Intention is hugely underrated. Intention is everything. I made an intention to build a rocket and explore the universe and that same universe began sending me parts to build to help complete it. I’m not sure how this works all I know is that you work diligently on building that rocket knowing that one day it will take off. It will.
If you build that rocket with conviction, the parts to needed to finish it come faster.
Now, what I’m not sure about is if the rocket will explode mid-air, or light up my world and help me see a bigger universe. It doesn’t matter. When I am 62, I want to be able to invite someone in and show them my dreams, the ones that have come to fruition and the broken ones that have made me stronger.
Sari: The Whole Five Yards is being performed by Preethi Nair. It runs from on Monday 7th August — Saturday 12th at the Tristan Bates theatre, Covent Garden, London . For Tickets.
Preethi Nair is an author and MD of Kiss the Frog, a company that teaches leaders to tell great stories.