Two Sides of Scared

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I read this quote in a blog post today, and it scared the crap out of me:

“To wish for something is to hope.
It has its sights on the future.
Wishing is ambitious and a remarkably forward thinking verb for someone who then put down his pen and went into the stairwell with a length of rope.”

If you spend any portion of your life wishing for things, it should scare the crap out of you too. Read it again. And again. That’s what I did, and the more I read it, the more it scared me.

But the point isn’t to simply frighten you or myself into a whimpering heap. The real question is, what are we going to do with the stark realization that things are never going to come to us through the ambitious and forward thinking act of wishing.

For me, this blog post could not have come at a better time. I’ve been wrecking my brain over how to re-architect my life for the past few years. When my milestone 50th year on earth coincided with things I’ve built crumbling around me —collapse of my business, loss of my home— I was desperate to just make sure I landed on my feet, at least sort-of. At that I succeeded, but now, well into the second half of my life, I find myself shackled to a routine, wondering if this is all there is.

The times when I’ve been happiest in my life have always had underpinnings of adventure. Not necessarily adventure on a grand scale, like people who climb Mt. McKinley, or go on solo biking trips around the world. But the adventure of trying something that others think you can’t do, of going against the grain of convention and expectations. I relish the heady, butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling of hurling myself into the unknown.

And yet, and yet… The shackles that bind me to reality are strong: the job and household obligations, the daily routine, the layering of comfortable habits, orders that must be fulfilled, and rents and dues to be paid.

It was time to sit down and finally come up with answers to the questions that have been swimming around in my head:

Why am I still “selling bicycles” after so many years of doing the same thing??

  • I love turning people on to the idea of autonomous travel

  • It gives me opportunities to empower people to reach their goals

  • I love seeing the flash of “Yes I can!” in kids’ faces, people’s faces when they find a bike they love and connect it to the idea of personal freedom

  • It’s really rewarding (when it works)

  • I am invited into and align with peoples’ dreams!

  • I believe in it

  • Sometimes, I help launch people onto a new trajectory

  • I work with dreamers

How can I approach this work with a heightened sense of adventure?

  • Prioritize actually having more adventures & challenges myself

  • Demand more of myself, get un-comfortable, remind myself that effort and growth never feel good until after

  • Take more risks with products in my store, events and writing

  • Make the store look more adventurous!

  • Continue to be inspired with books/readings (maybe start an adventure book club??)

  • Don’t be afraid to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks

  • Make myself try new things, new approaches, new ways to engage people

  • Experiment and document

  • Find support: a group of people these ideas resonate with

  • Learn new skills, do things differently, teach, speed up (don’t wait for perfect) and have fun

  • Don’t EVER EVER EVER compare myself to others

What specific things can I do that will take me away from just slogging through, and launch me on a road to adventurously growing my business?

  • Set a challenge for myself and document my journey toward reaching it

  • Be brave about publicly asking questions to find out if I’m all alone, or if there are others out there molting out of their routine, on a quest to find their best self

  • Find a way to combine:

    • a physical challenge

    • changing my direction

    • intellectual & personal growth

    • building community

    • growing my business

  • Be completely honest, get “naked” with readers, find what resonates

  • Build a community of readers to be accountable to

  • Start! Begin! Now, before ready, before perfect, light a fire under my butt!

  • Begin now, when fall and winter weather challenges will up the adventure factor

  • Pick that challenge, set a date for completion one year from now. Condition: IT MUST SCARE ME.

Coming up next: Hurl yourself into the unknown!