I wrote this last week, but didn't have access to wifi at the time, so I didn't post it. That's just circumstances. Then I chickened out, worried that I'd offend someone. That's just fear. So, here goes nothing.
I spent last week in Disneyland. Again, some of you might ask? Good powers of observation, my friends. I was just there in May. Because I love it there. It's fun, beautiful and it makes me happy. I've noticed that some people have thoughts about that, which is totally cool, because we have all kinds of thoughts about all kinds of things.
Last week, I got to take my mom to Disneyland for her first-ever time. She’d always dreamed of taking us, but the timing and circumstances didn’t work out. So last week, I brought her there, instead.
One of the things that really impresses me about Disneyland is the commitment to providing service above and beyond a customer’s expectations. In Disneyland, people LOVE it when someone delights them. This is different from the real world, I’ve found, where trying to be of service makes people wary.
In early August, I was in Seattle for a training weekend. I was on a break and an employee of Storyville Coffee approached myself and my friend Sarah, with a tray of fresh-baked (and I mean life-changingly delicious) chocolate chip cookies (seriously; they were still warm and gooey and had rock salt on top omigod). I of course said yes immediately and then wondered how many more I could score. I also noticed, though, that a lot of people walked a wide berth around him, pretending not to hear him and definitely not making eye contact. I was all, "Can I have their free cookies if they don't want 'em?"
See, trying to give people a gift (a free cookie, a book, a free coaching session that they’ve requested, a rose) can make you feel like you're super creepy, or like you’ve got the plague. Or at least, it might have you trying to inconspicuously sniff your pits, in case you maybe have some unpleasant body odour.
As a coach, I often get to experience the heartbreak of being the only [wo]man left standing, so to speak, for a client’s or potential client’s dreams and possibility. I can attest to the fact that it can be pretty lonely, standing there, holding space for someone’s greatness, when they’re too confronted by their fear to step up and stand beside me. It’s kind of like waiting for a prom date that doesn’t show, and you’re left wondering what you did, what you said and what you could’ve done to make it turn out differently, in that easy-to-fall-into and faulty way that has us thinking that someone else’s decisions revolve around us, as opposed to it being about their stuff. I’m human, too, so I will completely own that my fears can find their way in, especially in that familiar space where I assume that it’s all about me (it’s not).
[Tweet "What's the very worst that could happen?"]
An inspiring coach and leader, Mike Hrostoski, posted something on Facebook recently that exactly said what I’d been thinking. I’d been looking for a clever and graceful way to say it. [Translated: I was looking for the right way to say it.] Here’s what he said:
“I wish you weren’t so afraid.”
That’s it. That’s all there is to say, really.
I wish people weren’t so afraid — too afraid — to take on their lives and own their happiness. Not everyone will, I realize. It’s a big world with billions of people and they're all out there, being okay and doing just fine right where they are. But, when people reach out because they have a dream and a desire, their hearts house a fire that burns, and they see that there is a way, that there is possibility to make life their own, and then they still are too afraid, it’s hard. It’s a be-with for me, for sure. I’m ready to go. To make it happen, regardless of the fact that we have no idea how it will go, because they said so. Even when I know it's not about me, it's frustrating. But that's okay. You're right where you need to be, for now.
I so wish you weren’t so afraid.
I wish that you could see that the very worst that could happen would be that you might die. And, hey, spoiler alert: You're going to die anyway. For sure. That's a guarantee. A done deal. Probably following your heart won't be the death of you any more than your current choices will be (I assume following your heart isn't swimming into a shark's open mouth or something equally as dangerous/fatal). Not following it won't kill you, either, but in my opinion, regret is a shitty way to live and being filled with it at the end of your life is a shitty way to die.
And, I’m so grateful for the endless reminders that there are many brave souls whose desire is stronger than their fear. Whose faith in that which will be is sturdier than their stories of what could go wrong. Thank you to everyone who stands for their dreams and for their lives. Thank you to those of you who will decide, someday, not to be so afraid. Thank you to my amazing clients and former clients, who continue to shape their world (and mine, and yours) with power and possibility.
I’m so grateful that a guy once believed that there was a way for families to enjoy each other, and share experiences. Walt Disney is an inspiration to me. He’s a man who had a dream, combined with a vision, and stepped forward to make it happen, despite the naysayers, the impossibilities and the obstacles. His dream created a place that represents joy to many, many people.
Be brave. Don’t stop dreaming. When you find your courage, you will find you have everything you need.