A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog entry called “Integrate”, wherein I reviewed a long history of dividing myself up into bite-sized segments, and how that hasn’t worked so great for me. Well…reviewed? There was some whining, to be honest. Lamenting. Feeling a bit sorry for me aul’ self. In amongst all that rigamaroll, there was a prayer being voiced to bring all of myself into one fantastic smorgasbord of authenticity…and inside that prayer, a whispered entreaty to erase all my shame about past failures, to find a new perspective about them.
Now, the universe and I have developed a convenient shorthand, and it goes like this: whatever I ask for shows up lickety-split. Not necessarily in the way I wanted or expected, but nevertheless it shows up post-haste. And sometimes it shows up in the form of Jonathan Fields.
The day after my post (the very next day!) Jonathan sent out a guest blog post by Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike, which quickly went viral and rocked my world…not necessarily because of the post itself (although it was a fabulous little treatise-ita on risk that you should read) but because Emilie has created a community for multipotentialites – people like me who have multiple interests, passions + skills. Barbara Sher calls us Scanners; Marie Forleo uses the term Multipassionate. Emilie’s Puttylike website and business is all about helping multipotentialites “smoosh all your interests together and set yourself apart”.
Well, you know I was over to Puttylike in a flash. I wrote her a note, told her how validating her post was for me, and that I’d even written about the whole multipassionate thing after reading Barbara Sher’s book, Refuse to Choose, five years ago. One purchase of Emilie’s book, Renaissance Business, and a chock-full coaching session later, and I was on the path of a new venture, where a fully-integrated me can show up. (Did you see my big announcement on Monday?)
For those of you who have ventured, you know well who shows up as soon as you stick your toe on the highwire. Good old Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, Doubt + Fear, the gremlins of entrepreneurs and risk-takers everywhere. They say the same things every time: “You’ll never finish this, so why start?” “What do you have to offer, anyway?” “Remember all those other times you tried and failed? What makes you think this time will be any different?” “What if you put yourself out there and nobody cares?” And then, if you’ve succeeded in ignoring them long enough, “Who do you think you are, anyway?”
What a broken record – you’d think we’d become immune after a while, but they strike at the heart of every risk-taker: the fear of huge, ugly, messy, ka-boom-all-fall-down failure.
Here’s where Jonathan Fields picked up the megaphone of the universe again, just when I needed it. And since my Doubt + Fear speak full-voiced, he gathered up some full-voiced friends to drown them out.
Then entrepreneurial rock star Marie Forleo chimed in with “Feel Not Good Enough? Here’s the Cure” and “Feel Like a Failure? Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing”.
Finally, the almost indescribable truth-liberator Danielle LaPorte poked me with her white hot sermon, the grand pep talk: decide to rise (refer to this when in doubt, or sick & tired.)
I heart the blogosphere. I seriously heart it.
Yeah, Doubt + Fear are still yelling. They’re always going to. But I’m feeling more and more like Buddha under the bodhi tree, facing the tiger and the storm. I touch my finger to the earth of truth and whisper, “I can do this. I have something to offer, and the right people will show up to hear it. If I fail, I’ll dust myself off and try again. I can handle it! What I can’t handle, what I cannot abide, is not trying.”
I’m accessing a calm center of truth, which is that I was born to risk. And my past failures are notches in my belt of risking and therefore living my truth.
(You were born to risk, too, by the way. You feel the truth of that, don’t you?)
And here’s an interesting tidbit from Mr. Fields: in the world of venture capital, investors are looking for people who have failed, because it means they’re dealing with people who take risks and weather storms.
For the entrepreneur (and, ahem, every professional creative is an entrepreneur), failure is not an option. It’s mandatory. When you’re learning to ride a bike, there’s only one way to make sure you won’t fall down, and that’s to never get on. Is that how you’re going to live? No way! Me neither.
Talk to me about failure – how you view it, how you handle it. Do you have a failure in your history that gnaws (or used to gnaw) at your magic-making mojo? Have you reclaimed it yet? (If you don’t know what I mean by that, stay tuned.)