Learning to fly… on the way down.

I ran across a round-table discussion with several dramatic actors on YouTube the other day, and while it was pretty interesting overall, one of the comments that was made by one of the actors just struck a chord with me.

One of the actors said “I was never more confident than when I had no success, because I had nothing to lose.” He went on to explain that the more success he had, the more he ended up in his own head with thoughts that he had more to live up to, and as a result more to lose. That really resonated with me.

That got me thinking about how stressing about failure usually leads to a vicious cycle of being terrified to fail, when the reality is we NEED to fail so we can grow as people. We need to relax and just enjoy the journey to success or failure. We need to push ourselves to make interesting choices, and not just the safe choices that we know we can succeed at. Sometimes taking the easy win is fine. But if all you are doing is making safe choices, and doing things that you know that you can do decently, are you really making any progress in your career or your life? Is that easy win a benefit to you, or is it just the easy option? Are you stagnating in your comfort zone because its easier than risking failure?

Don’t be an average version of yourself. And don’t try to be the “next” version of some famous/notable person. Be the “first” yourself. Be as authentic as you can be. If you are rough around the edges, then embrace that. Don’t smooth over those hard edges because its easier, or its expected, or its safer. Just be YOU. Be the best, most authentic you that you can be. Challenge yourself to grow a little every day. Push yourself to move outside of your comfort zone. Just be the real you. Work to your strengths, and work to build new strengths. Take that leap of faith and see what happens.

Sometimes you have to leap off of that nice comfortable cliff and trust that you will learn to fly on the way down.

Me.

Nothing motivates you like fear does. And what is more terrifying than all of the internal fears and phobias that we keep bottled up? That’s why we build “comfort zones” for ourselves in the first place. We don’t want to deal with the terrifying stuff. We don’t want to risk failing. We don’t want to crash.

But we need to crash sometimes. Crashing is how we learn what doesn’t work for us in a given situation, and that’s a valuable data point to have moving forward. I totally get that crashing and burning sucks. Failure hurts, and it bruises our egos, and it generally sucks out loud. But it is still good for us. It teaches us what doesn’t work. It teaches us resilience. It teaches us that we can fail and still move forward. I teaches us that we can survive and keep moving.

Failure is not the end of the journey, its just a step in a new and different direction.

And I need to remember that. I’m making a ton of changes in my life right now. I’m building a whole new business for myself. A business that I very much want to succeed. A business that has the potential to not only provide for my family, but also allow me to give my family experiences that I didn’t have when I was growing up. A business that requires that I change my mindset and grow as a person. Safe and comfortable is not going to get me where I want to be. I’m finding that I have to do a ton of new, terrifying things that are well outside of my comfort zone. I have to push myself, I have to take more risks that I usually would be comfortable with. And I have to take that leap of faith fully. It turns out that you can’t really jump part way off of the cliff. Its more of an all or nothing sort of process.

So here is my plan of action for now.

  • Don’t let my fears and anxiety stand in the way of my progress.
  • Don’t get distracted and lose focus on the things that are important to my goals.
  • Don’t focus on small interim goals that don’t actually help accomplish my larger goals.
  • Don’t lose the hope and faith that I had when I started down this new path.
  • Don’t just make safe choices. Make interesting choices.
  • Failure is always an option. So I need to make the most of those failures and learn as much as I can from them.

Are you stuck in your comfort zone? Are you complacent and safe? Are you where you want to be?

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