“When you want to hit the delete key, that’s often the good stuff.” I heard these words more than three months ago–on August 28, to be exact. Yet here they’ve come again, worming their way into my mind. Maybe I’d prefer to ignore the sentiment, this advice I received at a writing workshop led by the amazing Cynthia Morris. Perhaps I really like the delete key and all the power it provides.
Deleting allows me to avoid vulnerability, you see. It lets me pretend I’ve got it all together, and, ahhhhhh, doesn’t that sound just grand? I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, avoiding uncertainty sounds nothing short of fantastic, in writing AND in life. But–you know where this is headed–that ain’t gonna happen.
And so, here I am. Announcing to you that I want to start a business. I’m afraid it might sound silly, but that sentence was really hard for me to type. Writing it down nearly (not quite, but nearly) brought a tear to my eye. I ended up taking a long pause afterward, for, I don’t know, probably 40 whole seconds. Just to let it sink in. Then I read it over and an actual tear came next. Next, the fact of the crying made me mad. (I’m SO not a fan of the whole vulnerability thing, remember?)
Thankfully, I’ve just signed up for a forum that’s giving me a structure to start talking about this. A few days ago a FB friend of mine suggested I check out Quest2016 on Jefferey Davis’ Tracking Wonder site. Over the course of 12 days (starting today), participants receive 12 prompts from 12 visionaries to help them envision the next 12 months. I’m glad my friend suggested it, because the Quest does in fact suit my intentions right now. Indeed, I signed right up.
Today’s prompt (which comes from mindfulness expert Susan Piver) goes something like this: What do you need to tell yourself about 2016? For me, the timing of this new year happens to coincide with plans to explore my business ideas. Last month I sold a townhome I’d owned, but hadn’t lived in for years. No longer a reluctant landlord, I now get to focus on starting a new part-time job. This time, it’ll be one I choose, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Having this new burst of time, energy, and money, is a huge and necessary advtantage. Still, in order to succeed, I need to give myself permission to let it be a quest. If I look at this new venture as a finite thing, a task to be completed, I’ll choke my dreams before they start. Getting caught by perfectionism can sometimes be my M.O. But I’m learning to overcome this tendency. I’ve found that it cripples me, and these days I’m more interested in progress than proving I can get everything right.
Instead, I need to embrace the act of seeking. I need to turn curiosity into a verb. After all, there’s a reason quests have endured throughout time in literature. There’s a reason just about every grade-school student loves video games. Quests aren’t interesting because their heroes already live where he or she wants to be. Rather, such stories live on because their journeys–yep, usually long ones–involve discovery and travel and failure and confusion and hope and renewal. I’ve never started a business before, but I’m pretty sure the process will be less like a static accomplishment and more like an epic trek.
“It’s okay to be on a quest.” “It’s okay to be on a quest.” This is the mantra I need to keep telling myself next year. Along the way, I plan to record some things I discover about becoming an business creator. No, I don’t know where it’ll lead. But, hey, maybe that’s all right. Because, as the saying (now) goes, it’s okay to be on a quest.