As someone who spends his life talking about being fearless in times of change, I often get asked if there’s anything I am scared of.
There is only one thing, and today I’m going to talk about the one fear that literally keeps me up at night and it’s the one thing I believe you SHOULD be scared of.
20 years ago I was a registered Pharmacist, but deep down I knew it wasn’t for me. While I did know I wanted to leave Pharmacy, but I had no idea what I actually DID want to do. Then a friend gave me the best career advice I’ve ever received. He said:
Write a list of ten things that you love doing. It can be swimming, buying and selling, playing cards, shopping, your favourite sport, painting, watching movies, fishing, playing computer games, making up stories, reading, cooking, it doesn’t matter…
Now find someone to pay you to do one of those things.
Then life gets really simple.”
I felt like I’d been living with blinkers on, then all of a sudden I’d been exposed to unlimited freedom. The very next day I stumbled onto a quote by a man called Oliver Wendell Holmes who said
“A man’s mind stretched around a new idea will never shrink back to its old dimensions,”
And I hope this is true for you. I believe once you realise that you CAN find a career that fills you with joy every day, I simply HAVE to try.
While no one knows what the future will bring for humanity, but right now we – at least the fortunate few who live in the west – are the luckiest humans who have ever been born when it comes to career. Because you really can choose to do something you love for a living – if you really try.
So many people say their greatest fear is failing, particularly failing in public. Mine is too. But not failing at whatever I’m doing today. My greatest fear is failing at the chance my friend had opened my eyes to that day. My greatest fear is getting to my deathbed and being forced to admit to myself that I didn’t really give it all I had.
I believe so many of us live in such a way that makes is seem like we’re just trying to get to our deathbed and say ‘Phew, well I survived THAT safely. No one saw me fail at anything!’
What a waste of a life!
From the day my friend gave me that advice, the fear of making daily mistakes became absolutely insignificant compared to the fear of getting to my deathbed and feeling like my whole life had been a mistake.
That’s not to say we have to throw your job in, or abandon our responsibilities on some selfish crusade. I have a wife and three boys and I take my duty to feed and cloth my kids incredibly seriously. But I believe it is also my responsibility to show them that life is for giving every tiny ounce of effort you have to create something extraordinary.
As Randy Pausch said in ‘The Last Lecture’ “We don’t beat the Reaper by living longer, we beat the Reaper by living well.’
So what does that little, quiet voice say to you when you wake up at 3am? What did you REALLY want to be when you were 18? It might take you 10 years to make it happen, but when you know you REALLY CAN make it happen I believe you HAVE to try.
Once my brain really understood what is possible, the fear of getting to the end of my life and not having had that chance far outweighed the fear of moving out of my comfort zone.
Not having a crack at making my dreams come true is actually my biggest fear.
If you’ve got something out of today’s video, please press the like Facebook Like button. And please leave a comment and tell me what you are going to have a crack at now you know you must.
Feel free to check out my video series on taking the fear out of change at martywilson.com.au/videos and I’ll see you soon.