What's the best that could happen?
Real talk. I've been considering publishing a book — eek, I said (typed) it. This is not a business book or a marketing book (although I have plans for those too), it's a piece of fiction. In fact, it’s 65,000 words of fiction I wrote in 2009 and recently revisited. When I read the first page to my husband (only my mum and my sister had previously read it), I literally needed 15 minutes to talk myself out of the nerves around doing so. I've been married for more than a decade, so it's not like my husband is some new guy that I couldn't be myself in front of. Even knowing that he'd 100% have my back, I was still so nervous. Why?
Because I felt completely vulnerable.
According to Brene Brown,
"Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think...Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it... Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn't feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive."
This led me to think about vulnerability and how it surfaces when we're taking chances and risks. As small business owners, we're constantly coming up against the "What if?". What if I send that collaboration request and they don't say yes? What if I send a press release and no one bites? What if I host an event and no one buys a ticket? What if I am interviewed and come across like a total w@nker? What if I hire someone and they don't work out? What if I can't pay the rent on the shop I'm opening? What if I do video and look like a fool?
But "What if?" can also work in our favour.
What if it all works out the way I want it to?
Weirdly, the same night I read my husband the first page of my book, I found myself on YouTube searching for a TED talk. I must have typed something incorrectly, as the next thing I know I'm watching Susan Boyle's audition video on Britain's Got Talent. In the video you see this lady walk onto the stage, 47, unemployed and a little too quirky for the audience's taste. We all know what happens next...In the last decade, "SuBo" has amassed a cult following, a net worth of £26m and cameos (as herself) in Hollywood blockbusters. It's not all the fame and acclaim I'm impressed by, it's the fact she backed herself enough to face rejection, risk and failure. She walked out onto that stage knowing the dream could be over, but hoping it was about to start. She believed in her creativity enough to balance all the vulnerable what ifs with the idea that it might just work out.
And it did.
Next time you're considering launching something in your biz or even admitting to friends and family you'd like to do something creative (like publish a book or host an art exhibition) and you're worried about what might go wrong, take a minute to consider the alternative. In the words of that creative guy, Mr. Jobs:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
Ps. A client recently talked to me about intent and how the universe shows up once you put it out. I shared these words from W.H. Murray with him (as I've done with many clients and friends) as they're just so powerful, and, I believe, true. I first heard them the day before resigning from my last employed role. I have been blown away by the opportunities I've had since making that commitment to leap.