Picture yourself playing tourist, walking along Navy Pier in Chicago. You just had a beer and maybe a gelato. Then you feel like doing something to mark the trip, something a little silly. You see a place where you can dress up like Al Capone and a flapper and take a black and white studio photograph. Fun right? Silly.
A barrel of laughs for years to come. Good for the millions of tourists traipsing down along the Lake Michigan, buzzed on overpriced beer. The chicago version of dressing up like a saloon owner and brothel worker from the old West. Golden!
That was one of my business ideas that never went anywhere because of a fear of failure.
I was paralyzed by how big the undertaking felt. There were so many tasks! So many calls! So many to dos! Overwhelming. Completely overwhelming.
And why bother if I’m just going to fail. How could I possibly make all that happen? Of course I’ll fail.
Amongst friends, at cocktail parties, at barbecues, it’s totally acceptable and even celebrated to talk about an awesome idea you have. You get a high five, a pat on the back, nods and bright eyes. Especially if a cocktail is in hand. You’ve got an invention, a product, a service, a website. It’s energizing. So fun to talk about.
My Dad calls it what it is, “cocktail talk”.
I knew sharing my photo business idea was just cocktail talk until I actually did something about it but I couldn’t even take a step. I couldn’t see that the first task was just like a ultra marathoner saying,
“I know I can run to that next stop sign I see down the block”, then looking to run to the next stop sign.
In the last email I talked about going from saying “genital warts” into a camera to giving birth on national television- taking little steps outside our comfort zone, making it a practice, and how that prepares us to take bigger steps outside that zone.
To take those little steps, I had to say yes. Saying yes is how we can trick ourselves into forgetting our fear of failure.
So here’s the Jedi Mind Trick: Say Yes in Three Ways
Say yes to events: I define events as lunch, coffee, meetup, drinks, art opening, networking event, your friend of a friend’s fundraiser, city council meeting, whatever. And you don’t even have to be invited by a friend. If you get wind of an open event that you can register for and it aligns with your interests, go.
Say yes to opportunities: Opportunities can be an introduction. If a friend says, “you should really meet so and so”. Say yes, please send me their contact info. Then actually meet them. An opportunity could be a class that someone suggests you may enjoy or benefit from. Sign up. It could be a club or organization that asks you to join. Do it.
Say yes to doing you: This is listening to that little voice that pipes up first before you stuff it down with doubt. Someone says, you’d be great on such and such board. It’s totally in your wheelhouse and you love the organization but then you hear yourself say, “well, I don’t know that much about being on a board”. Who cares? You’ll learn! Someone thinks you’re capable of doing it so you should too. You’ve always wanted to share your poetry publically. Listen to that voice. That’s you! Take the first little step without thinking twice. Look up where the next local open mic is happening and sign up. First stop sign reached.
Say yes. Make it a habit. Don’t think. Just say yes. To that event, that opportunity, your voice.
The key is not to think about it. Just say yes and show up. Those little yeses will build. When you're saying yes and acting, you're too busy to entertain failure.
I promise that even if you’re not listening carefully and you end up saying yes to dressing in drag and singing Karoke at a dive bar, you’ll be glad you did it.
Next week, I’ll share a story or two about what has come from me saying yes.
Hear you and say yes today.