I don’t watch much television, and as it happens, we’re getting ready to do a big “summer disconnect” at our house. Still, I somehow managed to catch an episode of Conan a few weeks back where he asked a member of the audience whether they were employed. The answer was, “Not really…I’m a blogger.”
That answer has bothered me for weeks, kind of the same way that a sliver will if it’s not removed. It festers and threatens to get infected. It gets warm and red and if you press on it, it hurts.
“Why,” I wondered, “is this bothering me so much? Why am I so offended?”
And then I realized that it wasn’t about what that man thought about his own blogging, or even what he or anyone else thought about MY blogging. His comment struck a nerve because it could have been me speaking about myself.
You see, I aspire to create a dialog online with you and one of the ways that I choose to do that is with my blog. If I take my relationship with you seriously (and I profess to), then I need to show up pretty regularly in these pages and offer up some home-cooked food for thought and serve it to you with a smile and an open invitation for you to share your thoughts with me.
When I don’t show up, I’m out of integrity, and “Not really, I’m a blogger” becomes as good a description of what I do as anything else. It’s a way of discrediting what I do, discounting my intention, making my excuses before hand, giving myself permission to fail…myself and you.
At some point, if you’re serious about creating anything of value (as opposed to simply curious about the possibility of it), you have to really draw that line in the sand. There has to be a point at which you decide that regardless of the outcome, you’re going to play at 100%, learn what you need to learn, and do what you need to do, stepping outside of your comfort zone, stretching, growing, becoming whatever – whomever – it is that you must become to achieve what it is that you wish to achieve.
It requires facing your fears – maybe not necessarily overcoming them, but agreeing to walk hand in hand with them for a stretch – as you reach for your dreams.
And, in this instance, for me, it required deleting self-limiting language from my vocabulary.
Blogging, creating a dialog with you, is one part of a multifaceted discipline that I am learning. I can no longer say that I am “looking into it” or “exploring the possibilities.” I am committed. And I can’t afford to allow “not really” to be a part of my self-descriptive language any longer.
Now when I’m asked what I do, I will proudly respond “I’m a blogger.”
What about you? What have you been “exploring the possibilities” of that you haven’t committed to? What’s kept you back? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Are you allowing your self-descriptive language to hold you back? Is there a “not really” somewhere in your answer?
If there is, I encourage you to join me in highlighting it and hitting “delete.”
Play at 100%.
To paraphrase the author James Joyce, there are no mistakes, only doorways to discovery. Go open some!