Friday, January 11, 2008

(PART II) "What would you do...

if you knew you could not fail?"

Okay, here's the beginning of my list (in no particular order):

1.) design my own line of baaaaaad shoes (that do not hurt and do not cost $400 a pair)
2.) record a CD of old (timeless, really) torch songs & other covers that I love (might have to be a multi-disc set)
3.) write a novel (actually FINISH the masterpiece I've been working on for a long time now)
4.) start a magazine
5.) speak Spanish, French, and Italian FLUENTLY (the word "fluently" is key here)
6.) live in a foreign country until I have a "mama, I want to come home" moment

I'm not holding out on y'all, I know there's more, but I didn't want to put too much time between PART I and PART II, and run the risk of not posting PART II. Life moves forward swiftly.

Now, in my head, all of the above items seem kinda "airy fairy" and not really REAL, do-able (is that a word?), things. In print, however, they become possible. They are all things that other people have done, so I have evidence that they are possible. Why CAN'T I do them? I can. Really. And the only thing that could hold me back is fear. Not lack of money, not lack of experience...just FEAR. Then come the excuses: "It's too hard." or "What will I do with my nice new furniture if I move to Paris?" (which is a very real question I've been asking myself)

FEAR. Of the unknown. We aren't talking fear of fire or rattlesnakes, this is fear of the possibility that something bad might happen. What if we choose, instead, to be EXCITED about the prospect that something GOOD might happen? Foolish or not, isn't that a happier way to live?

So my next step (and yours as you take a look at your own personal list) is to identify the steps necessary in order to make these things happen. One by one. This is when it becomes REALLY REAL. When you see that you have to go to a 3-hour Italian class 3 times a week in order to be able to speak Italian halfway-decently in a year. Sometimes you'll look at the necessary steps (and sacrifices) and say "No way." Just be honest. It's great to dream, but we have to wake up to do the work necessary to make those dreams a reality. I used to dream of learning to surf, until I faced the fact that I am not that strong of a swimmer, the ocean scares me, and I really am not willing to risk my life in order to stand on a plank on top of a wave. No ma'am. So that got crossed off my list. Nice thought, but not for me. And there's nothing wrong with that. Next.

So, at this, the beginning of 2008, create (and feel free to share) your own personal lists of things you would do if you knew you could not fail. Be sure to list the steps for yourself, and be honest when determining whether or not you are really going to get up at 4AM everyday and run 5 miles a day to train for that marathon.

Then be sure to remember that just as you have to define your own personal vision of success, you also have to define your own personal view of what constitutes failure. For me, success is getting up one more time than I fall down, and failure is staying down when I really still want to get up. Sometimes I get up and say "I don't want to do that anymore. Not worth it." I don't consider myself a failure because I learned from the experience. If, however, I fail at something, and don't give it one more shot because I am afraid ("what if I fail again?" "what will other people think/ say?"), then I have failed. That's just how I look at it. Yours may be different.

I would love to hear some thoughts on this, some things that people have always wanted to do, and what steps you will be taking in order to reach your goals.


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