There is so much fear at the moment about failure, rejection, looking foolish or being called out. These are not new fears by any stretch but they seem to have become more pervasive as each of us lives a half-public life. At times, I feel slightly sorry for the people who have grown up in a world with the internet and social media. Largely because they’ve never known anything different. Since I am not a digital native (first time on the internet was in college), I remember a time where I could fall flat on my face and only the people there to see it could really laugh. So taking chances on things that might not work felt “safer”. Although it may not always seem that way, it is a choice to feel safe or afraid.
In my early twenties, my best friend, Schaef, was about to get married in two months. At the time, I was living in NJ but was spending a lot of weekends in Baltimore. One particular night, I was hanging out in the Fell’s Point area with my friend, Damion. A problem was lurking for me because I did not have a date to my friend’s wedding. So I decided in that moment to ask the most attractive girl in the place to be my date. I don’t remember exactly what Damo said but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of “that’s not going to work.” And common sense would tell anyone that he was probably right. Random guy, asks random girl to a wedding two months in advance when he lives in a different state. Slim to no chance!
This is not exactly what I said but it is pretty close. “Hi! I was wondering if you could help me. I’ve got an issue with my best friend. You see, he’s getting married in two months and he made his brother his best man. I’m a little upset with him because we’ve been extremely close for years now and I should really be his best man. So in order to get back at him, I’m going to bring a date to his wedding that is so beautiful that no one will look at the bride and that woman is you!” I did not get a yes right away but what I did get was a date for the next weekend and an eventual yes to the wedding.
Most of the time the problem isn’t that other people tell us “no”. It’s that we tell ourselves “no” before we even make the attempt. The world gets very few chances to reject us because we cower in the shadows afraid to gamble our self-image. And therein lies the problem of the day. We are protecting the image that we have of ourselves and it seems magnified by the device that sits in our pocket. The fact that we can beam out our most perfectly angled selfie for all the world to see, also makes us afraid that anything less than that level of perfection will be chastised. The world is not waiting for you to fall. It’s actually not waiting for anything from you at all. But maybe… just maybe… if you’re willing to risk those slim odds that you’ll end up finding out what you’re truly capable of. Then next time it will be easier for you to say “YES!” to yourself because until you do, no one else will get the chance!
Put that first foot forward today!