You fall down as a kid, you look around to see if anyone is watching. If they are not, well you get up and start doing whatever you were doing before. As an adult, you freeze, concerned that you might fall down and someone might be watching.
Brene Brown talks about the importance of having “the courage to be imperfect”. In her 2010 Tedx talk she references how earth shattering it was to learn that you cannot control and predict your way to a great life. That life is messy. That a great life is messy.
Sure, fine. Sounds great in a TedTalk. Not so great when you are chasing a deadline and start to feel like you are never going to get there. Not so great when you are busting your butt trying to find a new job and every twist and turn feels like a no. Not so great when you know you have to start a project, and you really want to start the project, but that voice in your head is on a loop of “you are not good enough, you will never pull this off”.
In his Commencement Address at Merrimack College, Charlie Day (creator and actor in the off-the-wall show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) talks about the mess of his success. He talks about the panic that came over him as prepared his address to his alma mater. “Yes”, he says, “I can be worried about all these things going wrong”. But, he declares in a way only Charlie Day can, “I don’t give a shit”. He continues, “You cannot let a fear of failure stop you from doing what’s going to make you great. You cannot succeed without this risk of failure.”
Everything happens for a reason. But sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and you make bad decisions. Everyone makes stupid decisions. We go to the beach instead of working, we waste hours researching instead of writing the paper, we spend too much time applying to jobs online instead of using our networks.
Life is messy and as a very smart person once told me “there are no facts about the future”. Trying to make it otherwise is a futile waste of your time and energy.
Your job in these moments is not to focus on the problem but instead look for the opportunity. You are behind or lost or maybe even jobless - what is the one thing you can do to start moving forward? What is the one thing you can do to broaden the scope of the immediate issue and find a solution in a different realm.
Decide you don’t give a shit! What would you do if no one was watching and you knew you couldn’t fail?