Friday, April 24, 2015

Put Yourself Out There and See What Happens

You never really know what will happen until you take the risk and put yourself out there.

I am not sure if it's the scientific method or if people have always been this way, but many of us tend to hold back from saying or doing something because of all the "what if" scenarios we conjure up in our heads, analyzing them with countless angles.

Now, there are two kinds of "what if" scenarios. The first are the "what if" scenarios developed as contingency plans of action in case the original plan doesn't work. "Let's do a picnic date" says the thoughtful husband. "But what if it rains?" he thinks and decides, "well, we'll do the picnic indoors" or "we'll go to the movies instead." The kinds of "what ifs" that have an "instead" are good and healthy and show thoughtfulness.

But there's a second kind, a "what if" that keeps us from taking any action at all. Here I'll just draw from personal experience. I've been writing in various ways for 18 years now. But I have always been afraid to take it seriously enough to put my words and thoughts out there on a regular, consistent basis. I would say thing things like, "Yeah, I'm a writer and I'd like to blog, but what if no one really reads it," or "what if my blog doesn't take off?" When I was in school writing research papers on tough historical and theological subjects I would hold off from pursuing other writing opportunities because I'd say, "what if they all see I don't know what I'm talking about." The kinds of "what ifs" that hold you back from doing anything are fear-based imaginings that have no rooting in the real world.

As your feet hit the floor getting out of bed and as your eyes look out the window to gaze at the morning sun and as your hands grab that glorious hot cup of coffee in the morning, so too are your desires and aspirations meant to take place in the world in which you wake up everyday. And you're never going to know what will come of them until you actually try.

This is not a guarantee of success, but it's also not a guarantee of failure. You truly don't know. And it is almost always what you don't expect.

This experiment of writing everyday is teaching me this again. I am talking to people who regularly tell me that this blog is having an impact on their lives. People are telling me they read it everyday, some of whom I've never actually even met in person. Are you serious? Some have told me that the few budgeting tips have been inspiring them to take action (and yes, I will be picking that back up next week). Others are saying that it's encouraging them to take a deeper look at the way they view the world. I love that! Who knew this small crumb of a blog could have that kind of impact on the real lives of real people?

There are challenges and disappointments, moments when it feels like I'm wasting my time or being foolish. Some people make light of what I'm trying to do. That's okay. It's part of what I'm trying to do. So I hope this encourages you. If you're reading this, you know that I don't have a massive platform. I don't have thousands of people reading. I'm not making a living off of my writing. But I'm making a big difference in the lives of a few people, all because I'm finally past the "what ifs" and putting myself out there everyday.

I hope you'll take that step with me, put yourself out there with your writing, your singing, your improv, your budgeting -- whatever it may be -- and see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post, Andrew! This advise is absolutely SOLID. Last year around this time, I came across a quote that changed my life FOREVER that was along these lines:

    "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." -Jack Canfield (the guy who writes the chicken soup books)

    This was just some random instagram post a friend of mine made, but it STRUCK me. It made me realize everything in my life was a result of fearing the "what if"...everything I had or did was SAFE. I had a financially SAFE job, I was in an emotionally SAFE relationship, I still lived in my SAFE hometown, and I was still singing in my very mediocre but easy and SAFE band. Nothing was challenging me. It was all just allowing me to phone it in...everyday.

    Seeing this quote inspired me, over the course of now exactly a year, to move downtown, pursue a boy I'd been secretly in love with for YEARS, quit my safe job, and quit my safe band. Sure, I've faced some challenges and surprises along the way that I couldn't have necessarily had an "instead" lined up for, but the rewards have FAR outweighed the mediocrity of the safe zone.

    Overcoming the What If's will always be one of my greatest accomplishments. Thanks for reminding me how important it is! Great post! Keep it up!

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