Friday, December 4, 2009

Putting It All Together - Part 1 Why I Can't Ice Skate or Don't Lick the Fly Swat

When we started Pagus, we started from scratch, and I do mean scratch. It is easy to imagine doing what you love, but there seem to be no road signs or maps to tell you how to get there. In many ways we found that it is easier than what we thought would be, and a lot harder than we expected.

People ooh and awe over centerpieces and pretty presentations, but that’s the easy stuff. The hard stuff is the stuff people do not see.
The first obstacle is us, or more specifically, me. I am the constantly at war with both of me.

The first part of me says there is nothing more exciting than doing this. I have the coolest job ever, so obviously it can’t be a job. I am being selfish and arrogant in believing I can do this. I need to grow up, be responsible, and get a real job.

The second part says there is nothing more frightening than this. It is big and scary. I am constantly running the risk of making a fool out of myself, losing all my money, or simply being presumptuous.

I need both of those voices to keep the other one in check. I need to embrace the adventure, accept that I am good at this, and it is not selfish to do what God created me to do. I also need to keep in mind that I am biting off way more than I can chew and if God is not on board with this I am in trouble, so I had better stay on my knees. Either way, I have to receive permission to do what I do.

Now obviously there are some caveats. My dream to be an Olympic ice skater is probably not happening, no matter how much permission I give myself. Nor do I think I will ever create an environmentally friendly non-carbon based fuel that sells for pennies , take over a third world country, or complete a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle – my dreams are many and diverse.

I feel like I should warn you, once you make the decision to start chasing your dream there are going to those who think that you should stick to something safe. The funny thing is these people seem to have some sort of telepathic powers, they don’t even have to say the words, but you can hear them loud and clear. Just remember for some people negativity is hardwired into their DNA, don’t fall victim to their toxicity.

However, let me be clear here. We all need advisors. We all need clear headed, objective people to help us make wise decisions. Sometimes, if they really love you, they will tell you that there are things you just should not try – like dying yourself purple, eating a habanera pepper or licking the electric fly swat. It isn’t easy to hear, but if they have walked with you in good times and bad, sacrificed time and energy to be your friend then listen. Some of us really shouldn’t be doing things like singing in public, dying our own hair, or wearing spandex – ever.

If the people who really love you caution you against a certain course of action, then they are probably trying to nicely tell you that you are going to make a fool of yourself if you continue. Please listen to them. If you are unsure about the people you call friends, may I suggest a few test runs of things you know to be stupid – they sell those electric fly swats at Bass Pro.

So how do you know if your dream is the dream you should pursue?

After you have talked yourself out of it, listed all the reasons why you shouldn’t, convinced you and all your friends of the absurdity of you doing a thing like this, you should forget it. If you reject it for all the altruistic reasons, and love it for the selfish ones, but still can’t commit to the idea, try something else. If the idea makes you feel powerful and important, walk away, you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons. If it doesn’t scare you it isn’t a dream, it’s a distraction. Above all else, you should walk away from it, put down, kill it off, and if it just keeps coming back bring it in out of the rain, feed it, name it, and realize it is yours to keep. Treat it right.

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