Fear: Shipping is the Only Answer

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What is holding you back from taking on your dreams?

For me?  It was the fear.  The uncertainty.  The vulnerability.  The unknown.

When I first got started I did what so many entrepreneurs do.  Instead of focusing on shipping, on getting things out the door, I took my eye off the ball.  My eyes drifted to the sidelines, the outfield, the crowd, to first base – essentially everywhere but the ball.

I let that fear and that uncertainty take the wheel.

I fretted over fonts and artwork.

I debated form layouts and messaging.

I flip flopped on packages and offers.

I read.  And read.

And invested in training after training.

I just wanted it to work.  I wanted, I needed to find something, someone, anything that could make all of my fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability go away.

[quote]But not matter how much I read, invested in trainings, or talked about all the things I learned – nothing changed.  Why?  Because I hadn’t changed.[/quote]

But not matter how much I read, invested in trainings, or talked about all the things I learned – nothing changed.  Why?  Because I hadn’t changed. I continued to seek comfort inside the box.

That great big life I knew I wanted, that great big person I knew I was – I hid her away.  I did what was easy.

I took on contracts with far from ideal clients.

I went into an office with a cubicle.

I convinced myself that I could make it work.

And I did.  For a while.  And each and every time, I found myself at the exact same crossroads.

Because I wasn’t changing,  nothing else was either.  I continued to work for the same kind of people, doing the same kind of work, struggling in all the same kinds of ways.

Despite that comfort I thought I felt in the box, my fear had never left.  And the uncertainty never changed.  Instead it camped out in the back of my mind and my heart as I trudged along.

So what finally changed? The first was the pain point.

I couldn’t pay my bills.

I hadn’t had sex with my partner in weeks.

I was reading terrible young adult fiction and eating like shit.

I overslept and wasn’t leaving the house.  I was making amateur mistakes on small projects.

I was missing deadlines and showing up late to meetings.

When I looked in the mirror I wasn’t feeling the comfort of the box anymore.  I felt depressed.  Extinguished.  That great big person?  I could barely feel her anymore.

The more I paid attention, the more I realized just how much I tolerated.  I wasn’t living my life, life was merely happening to me. The pain point went from chronic, but manageable, to totally and completely unbearable.

The pain was so acute that I had little choice but to begin the slow and awkward act of implementation.  Nothing big.  Only small minuscule changes.

All things I knew I should be doing, all the things I had read about, studied on, and invested in, all of those seemingly simple things that I wasn’t actually doing.

I had difficult conversations about where I was struggling and why.

I held myself accountable to change by voicing the specifics on just how unbearable it was to my close friends and family.

I asked for help.

And gave myself permission – because that permission was the validation and life raft of security I needed in the midst of all the uncertainty.

[quote]I asked for help.  And gave myself permission – because that permission was the validation and life raft of security I needed in the midst of all the uncertainty. [/quote]

And it was when I was honest with not only myself, but the people who loved me, it became impossible to fit myself back into the box.  Don’t get me wrong – I was still scared shitless.  But I no longer had a choice.

Full of fear and uncertainty I did the only thing I could.  I shipped.  Anything.  Everything.  I threw anything I could get my hands on against the wall.

I sold things on Craigslist.

I took hourly gigs.

I hustled.

I reached out to potential partners on Twitter.

I asked for introductions.

I reconnected with past employers and friends.

I went into meetings without the slightest idea of what I was doing.

I slipped.  I stumbled.  I was awkward as hell.  And yet, the more I shipped, the less pain I felt.  And every time I felt a little more secure of myself.

I slowly reconnected with that great big person I had buried and let be beat down.  No one and nothing could make the fear or uncertainty go away, besides me.

The act of shipping, the act of putting myself out there, changed everything. Amazing things began to happen.  Coffee dates turned into contracts.  Introductions turned in referrals.

I stopped allowing life to simply happen to me and I started to happen to my life.  And nothing has been the same since.  Modern Entrepreneur’s launch is evidence of that.

After years of side hustles, scraped knees and amazing opportunities, I’m shipping the start of that great, big something.  And I am so excited to be sharing it with you.  The Modern Entrepreneur’s journey is changing and I am excited to be there to support you as you chase those big, crazy dream of yours.

So start happening to your life.  Remember – what you allow, will continue.  What are you allowing to continue by not shipping?     

 

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