If you subscribe and receive my posts to email, you’ve seen my occasional comments about my awesome wife. We’ve shied away from expanding on her career and goals on YLTL, but we have some big things coming up in the near future so you might hear more from her. I’ll leave it at that for now because we’ll get into more of it later…
Without further ado, here’s J:
Let me first say this post seem serendipitous. It was the result of a silly exchange between husband and wife. I’m currently building a web site featuring news content and videos as a professional journalist. When I asked Dan to review a couple of my recent posts, an audible chuckle drifted from his home office. “Uh, there’s a factual error in here,” he said. “Drew Brees didn’t throw five interceptions – that was last week. He only threw two yesterday.” I rolled my eyes and mumbled a whatever. “Then fix it,” I said with a wink. He baulked at the idea of tweaking my post and went on to ponder his topic for Break Free (shh, don’t tell him I let you in on a little secret – but stay tuned for something big). That’s when something came over me. Only half kidding, I slyly said, “I’ll write your post if you fix mine.” Most likely only half believing me, he responded with a simple yet sarcastic, “OK.”
So, here we are. I’ve been thinking about putting pen to paper so to speak for a long while – specifically writing about fear and failure. I’d much rather expound upon my fears on my own forum, but I’m now convinced there is no better time or place.
Fear is one of humanity’s strongest emotions. You experienced fear long before you can even remember. As I can only imagine, infants are fearful. At first, it may start out as a simple reaction to something startling or maybe infants experience anxiety while out of their parents loving arms. We know children are fearful, teens are fearful, and I think more so than anything else, adults are fearful. While the emotion may be the same, the reason for it is surely not. As a youth, you may fear a math test, be afraid of bullies or worry over what would happen if your parents knew what you were up to. While some of those fears – the fear of acceptance for example – follow us into adulthood, an adult’s fear is much different. I think our biggest fear is failure.
I’ve always been afraid. Afraid I won’t get that job I applied for – afraid they’ll laugh at my resume and lack of experience. Maybe the higher ups give a snarky laugh and think, “Does she really believe she’s good enough to work HERE?” Each story I write, I’m afraid I’ll make an error that will hurt the person or the organization it’s about. I’m afraid I’ll mispronounce something as simple as a word I don’t know and people will laugh.
Relatively speaking, those are all small fears I can overcome on a daily basis. Now, however, I’m faced with what seems to be an insurmountable fear – the fear of true failure – one that could change my life.
We’re faced now with an amazing opportunity. From the moment we starting talking about it – I was ecstatic. It’s truly the adventure of a lifetime as my husband and I plan to travel the world. It’s always been a dream of mine – I just didn’t know it was one we shared. I also never imagined it possible, financially speaking. But, my husband’s dedication to a strict and rather rigorous financial ideology has actually led us to act on what I only thought was a dream.
Sounds unbelievable, right? It’s something only a fool would pass up. But, it’s not as easy a decision as you might venture to think. I quit my job. I’m selling my house. Our overzealous and joyful pup, Lucy, will soon be the temporary property of family and friends. Everything I have worked toward will soon be something only from my past.
I know what you’re thinking right now, “Poor baby. Is she really complaining about an opportunity many dream of but only a few can act upon?” I know. I tell myself that too. But, each time I calm my nerves – the fear quickly creeps back inside. I ask myself time and time again, “What am I going to do when we return home?” Let me offer some perspective – we’re going to be without the home we’ve spent years building together, without the money we’ve saved and without jobs. We’ll be back at square one.
My parents always pushed me to do more, be more and achieve a position where I could help others. I have. I’m very proud of what I accomplished. It would be a lie if I said it was easy – the broadcast industry is anything but. It’s cutthroat, callous, laced with instability and therefore constant anxiety. With that being said, it’s also challenging, rewarding, impactful and a powerful public service. Information can lead to transformation in so many ways – a reason I do what I do each day. I believe I’ve found the career I want to dedicate my life to. It’s a passion – one that’s extremely hard to let go of, even if only for a year.
I’m afraid. I fear time spent outside my industry will lead to the end of my career. Yes, I do plan to write and report while traveling. In fact, I have the amazing opportunity to shine a light on issues around the world – the problem is, no one may listen. As I leave behind the power the airways offer, I’ll turn to the internet to try and make a difference. Still, it may not be enough.
Each day I drive home from work, I’m crippled by fear of leaving my life as I know it behind. I think of the great stories we brought to our viewers, the challenge we faced in deciding which news piece was most important or I simply recall the fun I had on air. I think of how I love the narrow, worn-down, pot hole-filled streets of New Orleans. I’m drawn back to the thought of how I admire many of the zany, bohemian, free-spirited people who embrace life here. I fast forward to the future and ponder what it will be like when I no longer drive down those streets, when I no longer stop and talk to those oh-so-interesting people, and I’m afraid.
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a free spirit, but at heart – I’m not. I’m a realist. I love the bit of reliability I have in my life.
My husband is loving the plan for an adventure – it’s a daring challenge in his mind. He’s a dreamer. I’ve always known it, I just never imagined how big his dreams are. It wasn’t long after we met that I knew he was destined for great things. He’s always wanted to start a company with the principle idea to help people and businesses succeed. One day, he will. However, for now it seems I’m faced each day with slew of his new ideas. He is much more eager than I to give it all up in pursuit of something more. Often times, his ideas give light to greatness – but generally those astounding thoughts lead to us taking a gigantic risk and giving up what we have worked so hard to achieve.
I trust him wholly. We will make it work. With that being said, it doesn’t take away the fear. I fear nothing will. But, where in life would we be if each time we succumbed to our fears? In all honesty, chances are we’d be exactly where we are now. We may be 100% fulfilled and more than happy in our current place, but ask yourself this: are you someone who will have the ever-present question, “Is there something more?” lingering in the back of your mind?
I’ve talked with Dan often about his ‘the grass is always greener’ mindset. I’m afraid his dreamer mentality will push us to give up the extraordinary life we already have for something that could ultimately fail. If I sound pessimistic, you may be right. But, pessimism is the face of fear and this time it won’t win. Despite my fears, I’ve agreed to take the bait, and I do so knowing that my faith lies in the belief that hard work and perseverance will pay off. If we don’t land back on our feet after a great adventure – we’ll eventually get there again someday.
And, hey – life is about experiences and memories anyway. So, let’s not let fear hold us back from what could be the greatest adventure of all.. living life to the fullest. Good luck!