Well, thank you Loren for such a great question. At first, it seemed easy. “Exactly what I’m doing now.” I would have said. Because if I wanted to be doing something else, then I would be doing that….Or so I thought. As I re-looked at the question, I really started to think about how many things I haven’t done, because I was afraid I “might get it wrong”. And there were way too many. I passed on speech competitions, auditions, job applications, and even asking a girl out once (good thing I didn’t chicken out forever because we’ve been married for 15 years). I have always found myself somewhat confident in my abilities. Not in a “get out of my way I can do it better” way, but more like, “sure, let’s go after that, what do we have to lose” sort of way. But yet, there were way too many moments that I hesitated…allowing the fear of the unknown to decide the outcome. Because in truth, you have a much better shot at succeeding by actually doing, than by not doing it.
But then I had a look at the question again. It wasn’t about guilt, it was about the future. “What would you do next.” Wow. How unlimiting that question is. What would I do next? If I could know for certain that I would get it right, what would I do next? How about: Fly to the moon, Be President, Act on Broadway, Open a school, Take dance classes with my wife, Be a Senator, Start a Huge Free Fresh Food program, Take my kids on a world wide tour, I’d sail the oceans, Scuba Dive, Walk across the USA, Live in China, Build solar panels, Invest in Stocks, Play Poker in a Vegas Tournament, Get a Book Published, Fly a Plane, Climb a Volcano, Try out a flying squirrel suit, Visit every Country, Work on a mixed use development, Invest in Start-up Businesses, Learn to speak Spanish & Italian & French & Chinese & Japanese fluently, Write a song, Sing it, Play the piano, Give a Sermon in Church, Play Golf in Scotland, Paint…
And that is just what popped into my head. A couple of these things are in my DMP. Many are not. Most of which I’ve written off because of time/money/ or talent. Now I see why people make “bucket lists”. Over the last 3 mos, my DMP has been taking shape. It helped me focus on the core of my life’s importance. Much of the above is fluff and really not the core of a life’s purpose. Much, would just be fun. And I don’t know that fear has been holding me back in the truest sense. I’m not afraid to travel to China…I’m afraid to spend money that could go towards something more important. I’m not afraid to learn a language, I’m just afraid I don’t have the time. I’m not afraid to fly in a squirrel suit, I’m afraid for my family if something went wrong. I don’t know that fear is always unjustified. But acknowledging it, and never letting it hold you back for fear of the outcome, is certainly worth taking note of.
One thing I’ve always told my kids that might address this question even better than I’ve done so far is this: When faced with two big choices, pick the one you will regret most NOT TRYING. It is often the one you fear the most. Because no matter the outcome, you will never regret making that decision. If you chose the one you feel is “safe”, you will always wonder “what if”. You already know what is going to happen with the “safe” choice, so why not go after the one you don’t know and satisfy your curiosity?