I’m not the best.
Neither are you.
I know that I’m not the best at what I do. You can work with other branding and design companies that have more experience. You can read the words from other writers who are far more eloquent and well versed than yours truly. You can follow leaders who have spent far more time earning the trust of their tribe. You can go for a run with someone who’s going to push you a helluva lot harder than I’ll ever be able to.
But if I dwell on this – if I dwell on my inability to be the best, I’d be giving up on striving to get there. If I only ran with a group I could leave in my 8 1/2 minute mile dust, I wouldn’t get faster. If I didn’t push myself to lead my team at Proof with confidence, I wouldn’t earn their trust. If I hadn’t bought a domain and started scrawling my ideas – if I never had the guts to hit “publish”, well, none of you would be reading this.
I was a nerd. Growing up, I chose marching band over sports. I opted for chat rooms over roller-rinks. I rifled through Goosebumps books and spent every Saturday night watching Snick.
Like most nerds, I eventually broke (or should I say, attempted to break) out of my shell – went off to college, spent a year drinking copious amounts of cheap beer, and did everything I could to deny my nerdy roots.
Somewhere along the way I combined my knack for all things nerd and my outgoing personality to become the man I am today. A married man with an amazing wife – a marathon runner – a business owner. Every part of who I was has shaped me into the person that I am.
“In moments of sheer panic, when everything is in question, I wonder if all this insecurity and frustration is worth the cost of losing what I left. Couldn’t I just go back? Back to a steady job, one that paid the bills and let me off the hook for creating art? Couldn’t I just blend back in to the status quo?” - Jeff Goins – Today, I Want to Quit
“Instinctively resourceful and at ease.” Michael Carroll, author of Fearless at Work, defines this as the “kind of confidence that remains fearlessly unshaken in the face of life’s often terrifying paradoxes.”
In the past 4+ years of not walking into an office, not working for someone else, not having a guaranteed paycheck or sick days or PTO, I’ve learned more about myself than I could ever be able to define here for you. But perhaps more than anything I’ve learned that fear is real and you face it every single day.
We have to move away from a culture of “have-to” and pivot, dramatically, toward a culture of “want to”.
This is the message I’m sharing with my team at Proof as we start the new year. It’s not about preaching resolutions, but rather, motivation to see our work through a different lens.
The question, then, is undoubtedly, “What do I want to do?” As we think about the idea of doing what you love and pursuing your passions – it’s easy to get hung up on the ambiguity of what exactly that passion – that burning fire – is. But it’s actually a lot simpler to tap into than you think.
The question you have to answer is: What do I want to do?
I don’t have a lot of big goals/resolutions for 2014. No crazy amount of money I need to make – no marathons I have to run – no huge milestones to cross off the bucket list. I don’t have an epic “10 things you must do to make 2014 the best year ever” article for you to read.
Resolutions are ideas we throw up to drive us forward toward accomplishing and DOING more. But I don’t want to sacrifice my happiness and the happiness of those closest to me in pursuit of DOING more. My grand vision – my mission for the year ahead is simply to live more fully, do great work, and focus on enjoying the journey along the way.
Maybe you have a bucket list for the year ahead. Maybe you’re reading this with a massive hangover with no motivation to accomplish a damn thing. Take advantage of this moment, and the next, and the next, and the next. All those small somethings – those little moments – create opportunity, evoke change, and develop memories you’ll never forget.
It’s not about saying you can – or telling yourself that you can’t. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Believe it, my friends, and you’ll find all the resolutions, audacious goals, and incredible dreams you have for yourself are but a moment away from becoming reality.