Let’s face it. When you were little and someone asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, you didn’t say, “Business Analyst,” or “Project Manager, or “Team Leader,” or “Accountant.”
We didn’t know what those things were. And if someone had told us, we would have ran away.
No, we had bigger dreams than that when we were younger. My dream, as far back as I can remember, was that I wanted to be a disc jockey and talk on the radio.
So on Christmas day, 1985, Santa brought the best Christmas gift ever — a wireless microphone that I could talk into on my parent’s home stereo. To an eight-year-old little boy, it was amazing.
I played my Mom’s 45s and DJ’d for hours. I’m sure my squeaky voice reverberating all over the house in between the likes of “Wild Thing” and “The Tears of a Clown” drove my parents nuts.
So it didn’t surprise them, I’m sure, when I started riding my bike to the local rock station in Orlando when I turned 14 asking for a job. I ended up DJ’ing on-the-air there ten years later.
But then a funny thing happened. I graduated from college. I got married. I got a kid. I got a mortgage. Then I got another kid. And, as you might expect, I got a real job to support all of that.
That’s usually where our dreams die… and if they don’t die a slow death because of our increasing responsibilities, then they die a quick death for a different reason: Because we’re scared to fail.
But if we’re completely honest with each other here, we’ll admit the truth about failing: We’re not really scared to fail, what we’re really scared about is failing in front of someone who will judge us.
I failed at the rock station I worked at. After they decided to automate the music, the other DJs were let go. I was the last man standing for a long time.
But eventually, they came for me, too.
What we forget about failing is that it gives us the chance to reinvent ourselves.
If you have a dream you’re scared to pursue, you need to admit something: The real reason you’re scared isn’t because you’re afraid to fail. You’re scared of who you’re going to fail in front of.
We live like we only get one chance to step up to the plate, like we need to choose wisely because if we give something our all and we fail at it, we’ll never be given another chance to try again.
That’s a lie. If you strike out, and you will, there will always be another at-bat.
Failing and living to tell about it gives you experience. You learned something. The battle scars are there to remind you that what you tried and failed at was real.
But battle scars are attractive.
I’ve failed many times in so many different ways and it’s only made me a better son, father, husband, human, and yes, writer.
So I’m excited to fail in front of you.
I’m excited to give this writing thing my all, win, lose, or draw. Because I’ve learned that the only good writing is honest writing.
And I’ve learned that if I’m gonna fail, I need to fail big. I’ll learn. I’ll grow.
There’ll be another at-bat.
So call up that person you’re afraid of failing in front of. Tell ’em about your dream.
What you just might find is that they, and the rest of the world, will respond with, “Good — that’s what we’ve been waiting to hear.”