Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Pure Courage"

I am uncertain.  I am afraid.

Believe it or not, it is a relief to say this out loud (which I recently did).

On Monday I participated as a volunteer in a personal/professional development workshop in which we were learning about how to ask Powerful Questions and listen, listen, listen.  The group facilitator put two chairs in the middle of a circle of about 40 people, all colleagues at the university, most of them strangers to me. I sat in one chair, and he sat across from me.  I knew that I was going to share things about myself that only my family and close friends know, and maybe even come around to something that my family and close friends (and even I?) don't know. In the name of being an example of how this man might coach someone, I was going to have to trust these people, that they would hear my story and not judge me.  I was going to get vulnerable. My hope to learn something about myself and perhaps get some help in taking an action.

The facilitator asked, "Heather, what do you want more of in your life?"  

I had to think about it, and then I replied, "I'd like to have more certainty, that what I'm trying to do will work."  

Over the next ten minutes, I got around to saying that to be uncertain was to be afraid.  I am afraid, yes.  Afraid that I'll not have the courage to someday let go of the comfort and stability and fun and sense of identity that my current job offers, to take the risk that my small business idea can work in this town, afraid that my partner is so afraid of me letting go of that privilege/job/comfort/security that I might not do it, afraid that I am not doing my taxes right, afraid that someone will steal my idea before I can get to do it.  I am uncertain that I even know enough to carry on in this direction. 

To be afraid in front of all those people was not the easiest thing to do, but the truth is that they were not there to know me. They were there to understand how to coach and develop themselves as listeners and guiders to whomever they might be speaking to.  And thanks to being the example, I felt empowered and clear-headed (and yes, still scared). 

The outcome, or action moment, of the interview was that I was going to seek an advisor of sorts, someone who could coach me in my business.  By Wednesday at 5pm, I was to email this fellow and report to him what action I had taken.  We even had a contingency plan for what he should do if he didn't hear from me.  And so, today, I did this.  

I've spent all day on the computer and finally using some resources I've got right at my fingertips:

I organized my 2012 receipts and figured out how much money I made last year. (Taking a loss, just by the way). I emailed the Small Business Development Center to set up an appointment for one-on-one business counseling. I found a book at the library that I think will help me out and I reserved it: 

I've read about funding opportunities and Schedule C forms (for taxes) and created an Excel spreadsheet with all my numbers.

While I was eating lunch, I watched Brene Brown's TED talk.  If you do not know Brene Brown, I cannot implore you enough to get to know her. I learned about her in December and have become her most recent biggest fan.  When she said, "Vulnerability is pure courage.  It is emotional risk, exposure, [and] uncertainty" I almost started crying. She went on: "To create is to make something that has never existed before. There is nothing more vulnerable than that."

Anyway, I'm going to get a handle on this business stuff. I'm going to get my questions answered. I'm going to do my taxes right (I hope!).  I am not going to let the uncertainty (aka fear) keep me from moving forward.  Which is why today, instead of making something in the art room, I just fondled my latest ribbon purchase, warmed up some tea, and headed back to the computer and my books.

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity & change." - Brene Brown.

P.S. An amazing use of your time would be to listen to this life-changing podcast. Believe me. I've listened to it twice.


Angela said...

I applaud your courage, Heather. The SBDC is awesome! Please let me know if I can help at all!

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley said...

Yessssss!!! I wish you all the courage in the world to confront your fears and be vulnerable!