Fear has always played a role in my life. As an anxiety-prone, type A, control-loving individual, fear was pretty much a given. It's not my parents' fault. My mother is daring and brave. She continuously surprises us, once by winning (and setting a record) at a wade-fishing competition, and most recently by joining a medical mission trip to Nicaragua for ten days. My father is bold and exciting. He has traveled the world as a leading speaker in the Industrial Distribution field, written books, and, in a surprising move, went to seminary in his forties. Now he is considering a tattoo. They set the bar high, didn't they?
While my parents are straight bad-asses, I’ve been battling fear for years. For the most part, I don’t think it shows. I typically forge ahead, ignoring the voices inside that are yelling for me to stop. For me, it’s not a self-confidence issue. Trust me, I probably think a little too highly of myself. After years of my family encouraging and cheering me on, I now think I can do anything and look like Heidi Klum while making it happen. Instead, my fear tends to swell up from worry over what others will think, of disappointing someone, of not living up to others expectations. Sure, I think I’m fantastic, but ultimately I want others to think the same.
When I graduated college, I struggled with this quite a bit. My days were spent freelancing for florists in an attempt to pay our bills. Wanting to break into the event world, I followed the classic mid-twenties girl handbook and started a wedding blog. A few months later, we moved for my husbands job and it seemed like a great time to start a business. My biggest hangup was not financing, breaking into the market, or getting it paycheck. Ridiculously, it was wondering what people would think about me pursuing yet another new venture. Would they not take me seriously?
When I began tinkering with this site, I felt the same fear swell up. My mind flitted between multiple worst case scenarios. The thoughts were out of control. They mainly centered on people laughing at my new site that was not professional designed or ready to launch at all. It wasn't the content I was worried about, it was the way the site would look to other people. I convinced myself people would make fun of the colors, the basic layout, even the photos I chose. You know, the normal things we all obsess about.
Then, my friend Shanna shared this quote with me. Let's all take a deep breath and shout "HELL YES" to these words.
Our first version of anything doesn't need to be perfect. My first version of this website will probably embarrass me in a few months or years. My first attempts at designing a centerpiece certainly embarrasses me now. The first coffee date I had with a new friend, the first email I sent for work, the first way I decorated our home, all of them were imperfect and a little embarrassing. That's how I know I did them right.
Our social-media driven world is fixated on only hitting publish on perfect. We build beautiful pictures, spectacular websites, and stunning feeds before we ever launch. Perhaps, by delaying, we are robbing ourselves of some good. Starting before we have everything styled leaves a lot of room for growth. It leaves room for learning along the way, for improvement, for failure, and for triumph.
Don't get me wrong, I love a gorgeous website. I have a whole team of people who have transformed my business platforms into the most lovely and fun places. They came in and made-over everything and I could not be more grateful. But, they came in two years into the life of the business. If I had waited until I could hire this amazing group of women, waited until I had all the best content and photos, waited until I knew exactly what direction I wanted to take Bristol Lane, I would have missed out on two incredible years. Those were the years I learned how to grow despite not having a social media presence. I learned how to develop my skills and not just my Instagram content. I learned how to fail, how to get back up again, and how to wait for what I wanted. I started early and it was right on time.
So lately, I’m working on stepping up and taking big leaps forward despite the potential embarrassment. Done is better than perfect, right? Often, I fail. It's the nature of the game. But to quote my high school guilty pleasure movie, A Cinderella Story, staring everyone's favorite Lizzie Maguire actress Hillary Duff, "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." My sister will be absolutely thrilled I found a way to slip that in.
So START. Step out and invite the new girl to coffee. Take the initiative and present an idea at work. Tackle a home DIY project. Make the website. Try the new workout class. Don't wait until everything is Instagram worthy because the best moments in life typically aren't perfect or planned. Start early and give yourself the gift of learning along the way, of building something great from the ground up, of developing your courage (or cajones as we Texans like to say.) Fear of embarrassment or what others will think has held us up for too long. Let's not delay our launches because we are worried of an other's option.
Ultimately, we all have to decide what is worth pursuing. For the most part, things that are worth pursuing should be pursued, not in a few weeks, or once we have our entire plan figured out, or after we have vetted out the possible outcomes, but now. So get yourself in a Heidi Klum mindset, ignore the fear in your head that is yelling false opinions, and start. It's worth the risk or embarrassment. Besides, there are way more embarrassing things than trying something new. Things such as your mom picking you up from school in full 80's aerobic gear, having too much whisky and singing a colorful version of Man, I Feel LikeA Woman, or realizing halfway though the day that there is a large hole in your jeans in a compromising location.
Let's leave the embarrassment to those situations and forge ahead with our life.