I often joke about being the black Pam Beasley, the character from The Office that you see in the above picture contemplating walking on burning coals. I’m a receptionist at an office who stays wearing a cardigan. Sometimes the highest part of my day is figuring out why a piece of office equipment isn’t working. And of course, there are a few people in my office that are characters in their own right who could rival the antics of any made up sitcom character. And yet…there’s no Jim. I don’t quite see the fairness in that. Anyway, where as I am a bit more courageous than the Pam Beasley character another one thing is certain: we both need a good boost of confidence when it comes to taking risks.
Chapter 3 of Quitter talks about risks and how we perceive them. I didn’t realize how terrified I was about stretching out into some recently provided opportunities until I read Jon Acuff talk about being a “procrastinating perfectionist”. This is me all the way. I am so confident in things that I know I can knock out the park. The first article I ever submitted got published. The first benefit show I ever produced was a sell-out. I went out for dance team and was always chosen to be one of the front dancers. But now I am pursuing television and radio and whereas so many people have told me I would be perfect for these things, I am not perfect at all. It is hard on so many levels! I get nervous. I don’t like the sound of my own voice and I pretty much have to talk myself off a ledge before I record. Just recently I recorded a show (nope, not posting the link. Don’t even ask) and I had no idea that I smack my teeth! What?! On top of that, I’ve done media coaching for artists to prepare them to be on the radio. It’s pretty hard to coach yourself so I wasn’t aware of this…tick?
*Me listening to the audio* “Wait, did I do that the whole time? Oh my gosh!” *Clicks off after five minutes never to listen to it again*
I’m not great at it now but I COULD be. I just have to give myself a chance and not drag my feet in trying things again and again when I feel that I didn't do well the first (or second or third) time. My stomach turned out of nervousness just writing that.
My reasons for wanting to try television have nothing to do with being famous but everything to do with telling great stories about great people, places and things; stories that will inspire people and change their lives. Because my motives aren’t all about me, it pushes me to try. This quote from Jon Acuff helped as well:
“90% perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head…if you goal is to change the world, you have to step out and share your work.”
I have some really cool ideas and could easily hand them off to someone else and play the behind the scenes roles. I am really ok with that. But I shouldn’t be. So in Acuff’s words, I am going to have to “quit perfect”, allow some embarrassments and work towards being great. It won’t be quick but it will be worth it.
Another thing chapter 3 talks about is the discussion we have with ourselves to talk ourselves in and out of things. Oh I am a pro at this. I think most people are. And don’t be a spiritual person like a Christian. If you are you can always tack on the excuses “I will have to pray about that” or “I don’t feel led to do that right now” while Jesus is on the side giving you a righteous side eye. Excuses, excuses. According to Quitter, the best way to crush the discussions are with decisions. Make a decision and every time you want to debate with yourself about it, tell yourself that you have already made the decision and there are no negotiations. Kind of like TLC in “No Scrubs”- “No, I don’t want that cupcake, no, I’m not gonna hit the snooze bar and no…”
I am convinced that only sane people talk to themselves.
The last thing I’d like to mention about what’s in Chapter 3 is the part about the excuse of not having enough time. I recently went on a fast and because I found myself more excited about the inevitable weight loss than hearing from the Lord (Real talk. Don’t act like you’ve never done that) I decided to cut out television too. Oh my gosh what a difference in my peace of mind! So what I’ve done is try to cut down on my TV watching and have a set schedule of what I want to watch. If it’s not on, I’m not channel surfing. If I want to watch something, I watch my half hour or hour and then I get to work on something. I have a lot more time in my day than I thought; just don’t let there be How I Met Your Mother marathon on.
What it boils down to for me is making decisions and sticking to them no matter how scary the risks are and to not expect perfection. I remember my dad telling me a few times after getting a less than stellar report card from me that I didn’t have to be perfect, I just had to try. To make your dreams come true, you have to try. You also need to remember that you, not just your dreams, but YOU are worth the try. You’re worth the effort. You deserve the best but you have to try your best. It’s not easy but you have to believe that you’re worth it.