I'm fascinated by a podcast called Startup. For those unfamiliar, it's a podcast about a guy starting a podcasting company. Super meta, but insanely good. Alex Blumberg, the host, documents the step by step journey of his venture from a safe, secure job in public radio to a life full of uncertainty in his new startup, Gimlet Media. I like it because it's honest. Alex doesn't hold anything back. He doesn't pretend things are going better than they are. He just documents what is happening along the way.
Sometimes it's really painful to listen to. Like the time he gives a pathetically bad pitch to an investor. He said everything wrong. He fumbled over his words. He left the potential investor so confused that he no longer knew what the conversation was about. But, instead of omitting the flub, Alex left it in. He allows us to hear what failure, what messing up, what not knowing what you're doing and doing it any ways sounds like. And I love that. But, I can't help but contrast his approach with mine.
I've had ideas for projects for years. Projects that I believe in, that I believe can have a big impact on my peers. But, I haven't launched any of them. Not one. There are a lot of reasons, but none of them the more likely culprit of inactivity than fear. Fear is the great swindler of ideas and intentions. It is omni-present, vigorous, and has an incredible memory. It lingers like a thick cloud of smoke and fights to remain a dominant force in the subconscious.
So, I've analyzed this fear. I've dissected it down to its smallest, most manageable parts and I've had conversations at length with some of my friends and family. What I've found is that most of us aren't afraid of the known dangers. Cancer is a known danger. Getting run over is a known danger. Though not entirely, we're typically able to navigate those possibilities with relative ease. Where we really struggle is the unknown dangers. "What is going to happen when I hit 'post'?" "What will people think of my new podcast?" "How will this sales pitch go?"
What's strikes me about all of these scenarios is how inconsequential the potential negative outcomes are. Most of the outcomes I have been afraid of legitimately don't matter. I'm not afraid of having a terrible car accident, or losing my life to a disease, or really any other lethal experience. I'm afraid of what someone might think of my podcast. I'm afraid of someone's opinion. I'M AFRAID OF WHAT YOU ARE THINKING WHILE YOU ARE READING THIS.
But, this is a terrible way to live. It's robbing me of possibilities, opportunities and joy. I'm not out to "conquer fear once and for all". I don't think it's the way humans work and I'm not even sure that would be healthy. My intent is simply to listen to the fear in my head, take what's useful about it and ignore everything else.
Bold Future is my first response to this new awareness. You can find out more about what it is here. I'm not going to delay it anymore or wait for everything to be perfect. I'm going to move fast and, likely, make mistakes. As one of my heroes, Seth Godin, says, I'm going to "ship". So, I bought a URL, I signed up for this Squarespace page and I'm about to force myself to post this on social media. I'm going to share my journey along the way, so if you're interested in a open dialogue about addressing and fighting fear, please stay tuned. I don't know exactly where I'm going, but time will bring clarity and I would be honored for you to join me.