Have you ever had an idea that you knew unequivocally you needed to act on, but for one reason or another you didn’t? I know I have. I remember when I “decided” to become a teacher. While I was in undergrad I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local high school in my discipline (agriculture) and enjoyed the experience. Prior to that, I was on the fence with what I was going to do upon graduation. The idea of grad school had come up a few times, as well as working for the government (state or federal) but quite frankly I had no interest in staying in agriculture. I had pondered switching to pre-med or maybe law (yes, my options were all extremely different), but I was not sold on either of those. So, after experiencing the classroom, I decided I would stick with education.¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I mean, after all, it is a safe profession, right? Safe and dependable were exactly what I needed.
Telling my grandmother did not go over very well, she just could not believe I was going to “settle” for teaching. It was not that she believed teaching was a bad profession or anything, she simply wanted more for me (a story for another post). After spending 15 years in education I began to understand. Teaching can be a very rewarding and fulfilling profession but when your mind is constantly trying to fix the system and not just teach, you realize very quickly you are in the wrong profession. So, there I sat trying to figure out what was next and realized the problem I faced stemmed from my desire to have a safe, dependable career. The idea of creating what I needed was scary…intimidating…undependable…and definitely not safe. So, I bargained with myself and looked for a job while I worked to create what I needed.
I have always dreaded doing things alone…or so I thought. When I was a teenager, my grandmother would always tell me, you were not born with a twin, which was supposed to encourage me to go alone. It did not encourage me, but it reduced my options :-). That being the case I still dreaded doing things alone…at least I thought I did. As life has continued to tick on, I have slowly realized that my desire to not do things alone, has rarely ever stopped me from doing anything that mattered. Sure there was that one guy I never got the nerve to speak to or that time when I did not ask if I could get a refund but in retrospect, all of those instances were minute compared to the millions of things I have done on my own, not alone but on my own. It is easy to allow yourself to be intimidated by the idea of a thing especially when it is novel.
I am reminded of Deborah from Judges who told Barak that Sisera and his army would be given into his hands, but Barak would only go if Deborah went. I am also reminded of Jeff Bezos of Amazon who started out selling books online, Colonel Sanders who received several no’s before ever getting a yes, the people at Kodak who rejected an interns ideas about “instant” photos, the McDonald brothers who sold their ideas to Ray Kroc and eventually all of their shares, and the list goes on. There are countless stories of people who either chose to go it alone despite what others said, those who chose to only go if someone went with them, and still others who decided to never start. In all of these stories there are those who could carry the dream to fruition and those who could only take it a portion of the distance. In reality it does not matter how far you take it as long as you start the journey. Would you rather start the dream or defer it? The question facing you today is, “What idea have I delayed or chosen not to pursue?” A year from now will you be glad you started today or will you wish you had?