In times of uncertainty there are a few things you can count on. Things like getting lost, not knowing what is coming, being unsure if you’ll even have a pillow to rest your head on for the evening. You know, the normal stuff. But inside these indeterminate spaces, there are things you can embrace. And one of them is messing everything up.
So often we go through life believing that we need to hit it out of the park on the first try, like we are trying to prove something. I am one of those people. And this need-a-home-run-everytime mentality has stopped me from pursuing certain avenues in life that I took the detour from because I thought I’d fail before I even started.
Of course, it is easy to say Just Do It, but standing at the crossroads looking down the path with the Big Bad Wolf of failure awaiting his dinner, my feet so often start walking in the other direction. It isn’t until miles down the road that I check back in with my surroundings. And often that nagging feeling of not-quite-right lets me know that I chickened out.
So how do we combat these ideas of the need to be right and perfect and imagining the book signings before words have spilled on the page?
This is my new mantra. Not Fail or It’s Ok to Not Be Perfect or something about Thomas Edison’s inventions. Messing up is part of the system of getting it right, or not. It really doesn’t matter. What matter is just getting it at all, where the disfiguration of falling flat on your face adds to the uniqueness of your own story and creation.
I was talking to a friend the other day about really wanting to follow some of my passions that have always sung in my heart but I never allowed them out of the cage for fear they would be seen as ugly-or worse, normal. He himself currently walks a path of truly living his passions even when it is hard. And why? Because he finally has accepted that he cannot not do it. Plain and simple. No real stretch of fame or fortune. More just a listening to his own insides telling him the direction he needs to take. I long to give me own pulse airtime. And so, I have decided there is one thing I can do.
It’s the only thing to count on when we are facing the scary passages of uncertainty, especially when we know these are the routes we must wayward. We can not only accept but embrace that we will fall, that it is inevitable, and it is part of what makes our lifespaces so authentic.
Someone told me once that we are constantly comparing our B rolls to other people’s A rolls. These accomplished people look so simple and elegant and all-knowing, and I often wonder how they seem to glide through their passions and accomplishments.
They messed up. Probably a lot. Probably more than they want to tell you. Maybe those people were just always more comfortable operating inside of statistics. Maybe they didn’t care how many times they fell before they rose. Or maybe they did, but they couldn’t not keep following their own heartbeats.
For the rest of us who think we should just come out of the womb gracefully slipping into our full potential, I have two words that have been my lighthouse throughout the process.
Have you messed up today?