“Better an ‘oops’ than a ‘what if?”” ~Beau Taplin
Why are we so afraid of making a mistake or looking like fools? Are we afraid of embarrassment? Of ridicule? Of pain? Of failure? I got over the feeling of rejection a long time ago. I have seen too many people miss their chance, too many people settle for lives that are less than what they really wanted. And by the time they could really admit that to themselves, the time was gone. It was too late. Their lives have been a cautionary tale for me. I stopped waiting and hoping and wanting, and I just decided to give it all a whirl. Everything. And a lot of things haven’t worked out, and a lot of things have. And none of it would have been possible if I didn’t decide to try. So now at least I go to bed at night knowing I didn’t leave anything on the table. I play every card I have every day, knowing that tomorrow I get a new hand.
Here’s a lesson we should adopt from Olympic ice skaters: they receive more points for attempting a difficult jump and falling than they do from downgrading the jump to something easier and landing perfectly. Why isn’t that the norm in our entire society. Let’s reward and celebrate one another for daring greatly and failing rather than taking the easy path.
Whenever I need a dose of encouragement, two recurring dreams find their way into my slumber:
1.) In the first one, I walk outside to the edge of a cliff, turn around, and do a backflip into the canyon. Rather than falling, I fly.
2.) In the second one, I’m scuba diving. I paddle up to a Blue Whale (the largest animal to ever live). I pat the whale’s cheek. The whale winks at me and says, “I’m so happy to see you again.”
I don’t know how to do a backflip, I have a healthy fear of heights and open water, and I don’t know how to scuba dive. And yet, these two dreams bring me a lot of peace. I think it’s the Universe’s way of telling me, “You got this.”
I believe that our dreams can send us the messages we need exactly when we need them. Yesterday I had a dream that I had handed in my manuscript for Emerson’s second book. There was a note on top of it that said, “Dedication – that’s your only goal now.”
Though it was a very short dream, it had a powerful impact on me. It gave me encouragement to stay on this path, to keep creating, dreaming, and growing. To keep helping other people. To keep standing up and speaking out to help build a better world. I hope that by sharing this message, it helps to encourage you, too. Stay true to who you are and the impact you want to have. We need you.
When I want to do something big, I spend about 30 seconds thinking about what that goal looks and feels like. Almost immediately, I move into what I call breakdown mode. I start to break apart that big, beautiful dream into bite-sized pieces. The big dream, for me, is too daunting and it’s not actionable. I make it happen, I’ve got to unpack it, dissect it, and put it into a to-do list with deadlines. And then I pick a place and begin. For my writing, it’s one word at a time. For my collage work, it’s one tiny piece of paper. For getting a new job, it’s making sure my resume is up-to-date in all its various forms and channels. You get the idea. It’s a puzzle and the best I can do is focus on one piece at a time.
When my head hits the pillow at night or when I sit down for my 18 minutes of daily meditation, I give myself a little chance to think about that shiny goal out there in the distance. I fall asleep thinking about those dreams and I wake up thinking about them. Everything in between, all my waking hours, are devoted to action. It’s the only way I know how to make things happen.
Today, Emerson Page enters the world. I’m so excited for you to meet her. The book is now available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lgZykV. Thank you to everyone who helped us get to this day. What a feeling! I’m so glad and grateful I could burst. I hope Emerson has a long, inspiring life and that she enriches your life as much as she’s enriched mine.
This week, the many different threads at my job started to connect. It’s immensely gratifying to learn a large and complex technology platform, all for the sake of bringing more art, theater, music, and dance to more people. The vertical learning curve is becoming a little less vertical. Or maybe I am just becoming a more adept climber.
This idea of scaling walls reminded me of this sign I saw a few months ago when I was shoulder-deep in my job search, including interviewing for my current job. I wasn’t sure what would happen in my search, or what I would do about what would happen when it did happen. (This is how my ind works. It’s in a constant state of whirring.) What I needed was a sign, so I asked for one as I made my way up Fifth Avenue from the New York Public Library to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That’s when I saw this sign in the North Face storefront: Walls are meant for climbing. And about 30 minutes later, I heard from my now current job that I was moving on to the next and final round. Less than a week later, they offered me the job.
It’s this sense of optimism, asking the Universe for guidance, and then opening our eyes and ears to take in the wisdom around us that we have to take with us everywhere we go, into every situation that we face. We may not always be successful though our odds dramatically increase when we can look at a wall not as a roadblock, but as a reason to smile. I got this. You got this. We all got this.
‘i love myself.’
This poem is a powerful reminder of the magic that can happen in our lives when we really love who we are. It becomes a way to protect ourselves and also to let others in. When we love who we are, we are imbued with grace and confidence. Nothing can really hurt us if we love who we are. We defend, fight for, and nurture what we love. And here’s the best part: when you become a constant supporter of yourself and your dreams, you have so much more to offer to others.
Yesterday I spent some time talking to a friend of mine who’s a real estate agent. She’s helping me get on a path to homeownership here in New York, which is not a task for the faint-hearted. After talking about my financial picture, we talked about the idea of willing dreams into existence. This last set of years have at times been extraordinarily difficult for me and greatly blessed. All in, they have led me to the place I am now: in my favorite neighborhood in my favorite city, starting what I have high hopes will be a dream job, and a book 8 years in the making about to be published in just over a month. A year ago, this scenario was unlikely. Hell, it felt flat-out impossible. Today, it’s my everyday life, and I don’t take a single moment of it for granted. It’s not perfect, but I’m extraordinarily grateful for it, even in the moments when I’m most challenged. With effort and a belief in the wisdom of what we don’t yet know or understand, life becomes exactly what we imagine it can be. Every difficulty and blessing I’ve had was needed; each one played a role in making my life today possible. Perspective is a beautiful thing.