It’s almost Halloween, a time when we are haunted by ghosts, frightened by zombies and excited to find ourselves a little scared. We seek out fear, scare our neighbors and relish in being a little bit tricky. And while I am not one to ghoul up, to go see the Halloween moving de jour, I have been thinking a lot about fear. When I say fear, I don’t mean in the run-for-your-life gore of Halloween nightmares, rather the fear that comes with difficulties, decision, and risk. The type of fear that faced me when I was weighing leaving a very good job with a great company to launch ILLUME. We all face this fear at some point. Regardless of who we are, we face big challenges, small challenges, mountains and molehills. While some argue that fear is relative, fears define us. Fears stop us in our tracks or motivate us to push further. I recently read this line, and it spoke to me:
“The best things often come disguised as the worst things. You have to let yourself be gutted by them. They’re making way for something far greater.”
How often do we heed this advice? I think the truth is rarely. The fear of that empty, lost, painful feeling of smallness keeps us from pushing past our fears to get to the “something far greater.” It is why we stay in jobs that no longer inspire us, keep quiet in the face of injustice, it is why time and time again as we built ILLUME that Anne and I almost changed our minds. We so often let fear define us, fear of what will happen if I speak the truth, fear of what will happen if I stay where I am, fear of what will happen if I go out in search of whatever it is that is pulling on my heartstrings. Simply the fear of failure, of that gutted feeling. It’s what almost kept ILLUME from existing.
Life is short; we all know this. We all speak about embracing life; taking the chance, chasing dreams, finding the purest forms of love and holding onto these things desperately and deeply; but most of us never act on our aspirations. We push our truth away, we tell ourselves there will be time someday. But the truth for me is captured in this quote from the same article linked above:
“There are times to be complacent and then there are times to stand up and be a complete bad ass. There are times you have to demand respect and pursue your goals, no matter how small they are, with complete irreverence for the fact that you could fail.”
We should all aim to live with that same complete irreverence for fear, for the status quo, for failure. We can act based on fear of failure, avoid the pain of gutting, or we can actively leap and accept that fears come along for the ride with hope and believing in our capabilities.
The leap that was ILLUME inspired me. I know that there will be moments when leaping will seem too hard but when I am once again faced with fear I will draw on each and every past exhilarating leap. I will embrace that feeling of being gutted by fear and move towards all of the possibilities in life. Ready? Set? Jump!