At last month’s local WordPress meet-up, I met lovely and vivacious local writer/blogger, Sharon, who blogs beautifully at Midlife Moments. Sharon has
conned me into asked me to join her in the blog meme, The Next Big Thing, currently making the rounds in various blogging circles. Thanks, Sharon, for including me in the fun and exploration! I’ll get you back some day.
For the enlightenment of newer readers and a reminder to longer term readers, my last two Big Things were losing 100 pounds and (mostly) keeping it off, and walking away from soul-sucking-but-cushy Corporate America, hanging out my freelance shingle, and (almost) making a living out of it.
Earlier this year, when I was trying to formulate my goals for the year, I was bothered by a couple of items that are carry-overs from last year (and the year before that), namely: wrapping up my house remodel and finishing my book. I make progress in fits and starts, but eventually self-doubt and self-criticism take over and I’m stuck again until I get re-centered.
Along with that, I was uncomfortable (read: terrified) by my business goals this year, modest though they may be, and was just generally feeling scared. In other words, the perfect time to read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, which is about learning to embrace risk and uncertainty so that we can better open ourselves up to opportunities, relationships, and whatever else life has to offer. The title is from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 Citizenship in a Republicspeech:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
Now, I’ll confess that at first I felt a tiny bit silly comparing a kitchen update, a tiny book, and a tiny-by-design business as “daring greatly”. These are small things in the greater scheme of life.
But the more I thought about it, I realized that the thought patterns behind those self-doubts and self-criticisms were the same ones that prevented me from successfully losing weight for many years and, to some extent, what kept me in a job I no longer loved instead of pursuing my passions:
- Comparing myself to others
- Expecting perfection
- Trying to follow other people’s plans
- Trying to tackle everything all at once
- And so on
And now we have history repeating itself. Or maybe that’s, I hope history repeats itself, because in my previous Big Things I figured out a way to turn the tables on self-limitations and step into the process boldly, knowing that I would have successes and failures, welcoming (eventually) the challenges and missteps for what they taught me, and accepting that even if I didn’t succeed, I had at least tried with all my heart.
All of that is to say that my Next Big Thing is to live this year daring greatly. Like small steps, small things add up and working wholeheartedly toward my goals will be a very Big Thing, even if they don’t turn out exactly like I envisioned. It’s going to be a fairly awesome year, I think! If nothing else, it won’t be boring!
Feel free to share your thoughts or lessons learned with respect to self-limitations, your inner critic, or how you’re “daring greatly” in your life. (I love to celebrate vicariously!)
And now it’s my turn to tag someone else. I “pre-tagged” Lynn, who blogs so insightfully at Lynn’s Weigh, who will be sharing her Next Big Thing. I’m excited to find out what she’s up to, aren’t you?