“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” – Frederick Buechner
Last week in this space we talked about finding your passion and then spending your energy following it. If you’re not doing what you’re passionate about, it’s physically impossible to be the best you there is. You just won’t have that energy, that extra zip that helps you push through when things get tough.
But even when you’re doing what you’re passionate about, you’ll still come up against barriers. Don’t confuse “what I’m passionate about” with “easy”. They aren’t the same. There are no magic bullets, there are no easy buttons, there is no spell you can say while waving your magic wand.
If there’s anything worse than somebody who hasn’t figured out what they’re passionate about, it’s somebody who has figured it out, but, because of some kind of road block or set back, just gives up. They thought they found the key to happiness, and when it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, they decide it’s not worth it.
Bad things will happen. Customers will fire you. Competitors will do something better than you do it. Employees will quit. Some political or economic or social or technological or environmental or legal issue that you don’t necessarily control will become relevant. That’s just the way the world works.
Know that going in, prepare for it, and then be resilient. It’s OK to not know the answer, or to be uncertain about what to do. It’s not OK to just do nothing, or to quit. That’s the only way you’ve ever really failed. As long as you keep moving forward, even in the face of big, scary stuff, then you’re successful.
So plan for both good and bad things. I’ve been part of a lot of planning sessions where everybody wants to talk about the perfect scenario, knowing all the while that it’s not possible. Talk about what might block the road. Talk about how you might address those predictable issues. Talk about what kind of organization you have to be to deal with the unpredictable ones, too.
Some people think that their path through the world is going to be a smooth road, and some people think it’s just going to be one challenge after another. They’re both right. So prepare for both, plan for both, and charge ahead. No fear.