You disagree with the title of this post. I don’t blame you, we live and work in a culture that believes confidence and strategic-emotionless decision making are the keys to success. Don’t count on a gut reaction, write out a life plan and then proceed.
Nine out of ten times you would be right ,or, rather we would be right because I would be with you nodding in the affirming direction. But a string of experiences has led me to believe that fear - wrenching, sweat inducing, needle-under-fingernail fear - when applied at exactly the right moment can shock us into uncharacteristic bravery.
Three years ago I had a list of opportunities that would fill up a poker chip. My ‘prospects’ (as they’re known in Major Markets and the ranch communities of Colorado) were lacking to say the least. I was entering my second tour of duty at P.F. Changs, living with my parents, and unsure of how to proceed with my newly graduated girlfriend of six years, Lindsey.
*While it doesn’t fit well with my current flow and mood I have to point out the sexual frustration that comes in to play within a six year christian relationship. Most twenty-three year old men are unclear. Twenty-three year old virgin men make Seattle look like blue skies and sunshine.
What made matters worse was that only a few weeks before I had held an internship with Catalyst, a well-respected organization aimed at developing next generation leaders (yes, I see the irony). Because of this opportunity those around me were expecting “big things” when I was done, gobbling up the next opportunity and taking steps to become a ‘generational leader’.
It’s hard to explain, humorously or seriously, what my head and heart were doing at that moment. Chances are I don’t have to because you’ve been there, where expectations meets immaturity meets lack of opportunity or credibility. We all react differently but my answer was to ‘turtle up’; I pulled my head in my shell and told everybody else to screw off.
And then Lindsey got offered a job in Colorado. When the love of your life and best friend has an opportunity to move across the country and on with her life it forces you to pay attention. That doesn’t mean that I became clear or mature or perfectly aligned with straight lined vision. I got scared. And then I took the fear and drove down it into my core and spewed out bravery I had no idea was there.
Lindsey and I got engaged, wed, and moved 2,000 miles in just a tic under four weeks. I had never driven anything longer than a suburban and all of a sudden I was going solo in a twenty-four foot Penske truck hauling a Honda Civic. We rented an apartment, she started her new job, and I got a job (wait for it) waiting tables at Chilis (the only bummer in this story but you do what you got to do).
Fear shocked me back into the story of my life.
Not quite three years later and Lindsey is going strong at Washington Elementary, serving on a number of boards, while running her own voice studio during the summer. I’m the wordsmith and social media strategist at Stickman Simple Marketing and the curator of Threethoughtson.com enjoying a level of opportunity and networking I’ve never experienced. We fly-fish, we hike with our dog Cam, and record TV shows.
Fear is rarely a good thing - but - at just the right moment it’s the greatest thing in the world.