I have a confession to make.
I’m not brave.
Oh sure, I can talk big and often do–on this blog, to friends, and on social media. Take risks! Push yourself! Move outside your comfort zone!
And my personal favourite, “Jump and the net will appear.” Love that one.
As most of you know, I quit my day job at the end of 2012 to focus on my lifelong dream of becoming a novelist.
This isn’t the only time I’ve worked for myself, but the first time around I was completely consumed with building my freelance career and making as much money as possible. The result? Not a word of fiction was written. I was determined not to make the same mistake again.
However, I am not patient.
And, as stated above, I am not brave.
I’m scared of many things–that the roof of this old house will cave in and I won’t have the money to fix it. That my relationship will fail and I’ll suddenly be on my own, with only my freelance income and no support. But most of all, I’m scared of wasting my time.
What if this writing thing never works out for me? What if I turned my back on a successful career for nothing? What if none of my article pitches or query letters ever amount to anything?
What if, what if, what if.
It’s enough to drive one mad.
So whenever a day job comes around that interests me, I’m tempted to apply. High-level communications positions aren’t exactly plentiful in this city. What if I don’t apply and end up regretting it? What if, what if, what if.
Every single time I’ve committed myself to my dreams, I’ve given up whenever something safe and secure has come along.
This is why I’m not published. Keeping the faith for two months, five months, a year…that seems like an eternity to me.
Wait, does my alma mater need a journalism instructor? Maybe I should apply.
I recently found some wisdom in the most unexpected place–Jim Carrey. You may have seen the clip of his commencement speech, as it’s been making the rounds.
Jim’s father wanted to be a comedian but settled for a job he didn’t like because it paid the bills. Because it was safe.
Well, Jim’s father got laid off. The lesson Jim learned from this is why he is one of the most successful comedians of our time.
“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
What is riskier, I wonder? Playing it safe and accepting that your dreams will stay just that–dreams, or going for broke and seeing what happens?
If you decide to leap, hoping that net will appear, how long should you keep leaping before giving up?
That question I know the answer to. Never, ever, ever give up.
The net will appear eventually.
Probably exactly when you’ve stopped looking for it.
Have you ever put everything on the line to chase a dream? If so, what happened? How do you keep yourself from giving up?