Walking the path of entrepreneurship has often led me into a tangled wood filled with fear and doubt. I’ll be skipping down the path of “living my bliss” and suddenly I’ll stop short, look around and think “where the hell am I? How did I get here?”
Fear and doubt takes its cue from that inner questioning. It curls around the heart and lungs cutting off the experience of exhilaration that usually accompanies the path to greatness.
This used to scare me – A LOT – but I’ve learned some things on this path.
When that pain of doubt starts to take hold I simply have to whisper a little prayer for “help” and God throws me a lifeline that drags my human self out of the muckiness of fear and self-loathing.
The first time this happened was six years ago. I left my corporate job and was slowly realizing that entrepreneurship wasn’t as easy as it had looked from the safety of my corporate office.
My soul spent most days curled in the fetal position. I desperately wanted freedom from this fear.
I prayed “God, help!”
My prayer was answered by a viral youtube video of Susan Boyle’s first audition on Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen it you can watch it here: Susan Boyle’s Audition.
Susan pranced on stage badly dressed, toe-curlingly awkward and announced she wanted to be a professional singer like Elaine Page.
The audience rolled its eyes. She was an unemployed spinster who sang at her local church. Everyone watched waiting for the total and complete humiliation we knew was moments away.
And then Susan sang and I cried. I cried for her beauty and her courage. I cried for my doubt.
That day I began to learn a lesson critical to success: Greatness cannot be achieved in safety.
Greatness is found living at the edge of our own vulnerability.
Susan now has recorded six albums, performed world tours and built a tribe of adoring fans who gain inspiration from her every day.
I’d love to say this knowledge has made being vulnerable easy. It hasn’t. But when I think of stepping back from the edge of my own vulnerability to the safety of smallness I remember Susan and all my other teachers. When I feel scared I ask myself this question:
Am I willing to sacrifice greatness for safety?
Of course the answer is “no.” And it’s in those moments that I say the prayer that changes everything:
God help, please.
What about you? Are you willing to sacrifice greatness for safety?