I used to play the piano every day for 16+ years. I’d play Rachmaninoff preludes, Mozart sonatas, and Czerny scales – you name it and I’ve probably played it. And then I quit. I was a music major in college who had coasted on talent up until the point I hit the wall where every talented musician must garner some discipline and practice and instead, I chose to lay it aside and pursue other things. I used to think it was just the fact that I hated to practice that drove me to burn out and quit. But, the truth is, its deeper than that.
I’ve quit other things too – there are book outlines, blogs, opportunities for development – I hurriedly exited all endeavors by going on to the next thing when I hit the cusp of having to risk something. Could drive, discipline and hard work take me the rest of the way or would I FAIL?
There, I said it. The F word. I’ve quit so many things prematurely because I was too afraid to try and fail. Too afraid to try because if I failed that would mean something horrible.
Its not like I made a conscious decision to quit because of this fear. It usually happens over a series of choices and thought cycles in my head. A challenge presents itself, I scope it out, I assess the risk and effort factors, and then the thought creeps into my head,”I could just do that later”, procrastination creeps in and before you know it 5 years have flown by and you’ve yet to accomplish what you could have done in a few short days, weeks or months of a little discipline and devotion to the vision you had in your head.
I’ve reached a point in life now where I’m uncomfortable in my state of comfort. God has blessed me with so many things – all of which I am grateful for, but my purpose, the very mission I was put on this earth for has been left to collect dust on a shelf. Every so often, I dust it off, analyze it, imagine how pretty it will be and think about how I will someday get to it. I look at others, who have forged ahead and think it must have been so easy for them to go out there and get it. And then I’d go about my year.
Lately, this vision hasn’t been as easy to ignore, I see others progress and I’m still in the same place. My patterns of avoidance have also become painfully clear. So I started asking a few question – if I do fail, what does that mean? What does that prove? Is that the end?
- Failure means nothing and proves nothing except what you learn from it for the next go-round.
- Failure is not an end, just development for another stage of the attempt. And its not something to fear.
- Fear is the opposite of faith, so if I fear failure, I’m not activating my faith for the vision I have.
So what am I waiting for?
- Should I wait to care what other people think? No- at the end of the day I have to answer for what I’ve done with my gifts and talents, the spectators in the crowd don’t.
- Should I wait until I’m ready? No – I’m already ready and I have all I need.
So this is me – stepping into a new season of life. A season where failure is seen more like a good lesson. It’s a lesson to prepare me for where I’m headed rather than a means to an end or a judgement of who I am. I will never be content or operating in the very reason I’m here on earth if I don’t push fear aside, gain a little discipline and just go for it.
I’m leaving you with this…
What about you? Are there things in your life that are worth the risk of failing for?