From the archives. I wrote this back in 2014. Other than the fact that I’m back in the corporate world, not a lot has changed.
I often second-guess myself. Am I good enough? Should I even bother writing? Will new clients want to hire me? (I know, I’m not supposed to admit this in public, but I’m pretty sure more people think like me than not. And I’m hoping my breaking the rules will help at least one of you.)
The Type-A planner in me gets caught waiting for things to be perfect before I start. I’ve been known to not attempt something if I didn’t think I could be successful at it. (I am the epitome of an Enneagram Type 1.)
Sometimes, this caution is a good thing. But all too often, it’s simply fear holding me back.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here.
It’s been over a year since I quite the corporate world and started my journey as a mom who works from home part-time. What that has looked like has changed several times over the year – in terms of who I work for, what type of work I’m doing and what my childcare arrangements do or don’t look like.
I have stepped, and stepped back, and mis-stepped, and successfully stepped several times in that year.
I’m also changing my view of failure.
Because what I thought I wanted a year ago is not the same as what I want now. And you know what?
I wouldn’t have figured it out if I hadn’t stepped out and tried something.
Logan Wolfram recently did a great interview on the Declare podcast where she shares about the crazy, seemingly unrelated steps she took – one at a time – that ultimately led her to running the Allume Conference (you really should listen to it, it’s a good one).
I’ve found the same principle to be true over and over again in my own life, but somehow I still manage to forget.
When I was in high school, I quit calculus after one semester to take on an internship at the local newspaper. For some reason, even though it was at the semester change, I needed the teacher to sign a release slip allowing me to drop the class.
I’ll always remember standing outside that upstairs classroom, as he told me, “You’re making the worst mistake of you’re life.” He went on with something to the effect that if I didn’t pass AP Calculus as a senior in high school, I would never be able to make up for that and have time to take all the math classes I needed in college in order to become somebody.
Ironically, taking that newspaper internship set into motion a whole host of steps that have led me to where I am today. I discovered a love for copy-editing, training people and managing projects. I had my first piece published in the local newspaper. I had my first experiences with office dynamics and office politics and organizational management.
I went on to become an Organizational Communications major, joined the college newspaper staff, and ultimately become editor of the George Fox University Crescent newspaper. I learned my first layout software on an old colorful Mac computer. I also learned I should have stuck with the layouts and technical side of things, as writing wasn’t my strength.
The Org Com major led me to a job doing business process and marketing and sales operations. And to business school.
Here I am today writing, editing, training people and managing projects.
I never did finish calculus – I got away with taking pre-calc for my required math credits in college – and I wouldn’t say that my life has been ruined in any way. In fact, I’m guessing my life could have looked fairly different if I hadn’t made that one decision.
Whether the step seems big or small, you don’t know where that single first step will lead.
Even if you think you do.
Take it anyway.
Is there something you need to step out and try today? Share in the comments – I’d love to encourage you!