A Year for Fools

“The only people who never miss are the ones who never take a swing.  I want to be one of the ones who gets up there and swings the bat.”

This is what my wonderful Dad said to me as we drove to the airport a year and a half ago, following a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” performance of mine (okay, it felt that way to me, not everyone else)…as I sat there wanting to sink into pit of despair, hide my face and never let anyone see me again. Those words literally hit my heart like a baseball and lifted me out of self-pity… replacing it with something close to satisfaction in having put myself out there and…failed. 

Not that I felt any differently about my performance, not that I ever wanted to watch it replayed or repeat it…but…

I have lived in People-Pleaser Prison for most of my life.  I have tended to choose  things that are “safe.”  Music was relatively safe because I’d been told from my youngest days that I was good at it.  Sports—not so much.  Visual art—not so much.  So many things I never tried, in great part because there was no guarantee I would succeed, and I was afraid to fail. 

More honestly, I was afraid to be SEEN failing. 

In Tribes by Seth Godin, he says it’s really not fear of failure that holds us back, but fear of criticism.

Ouch.

But I know that the people who have always inspired me most—both real and fictional—are the Unafraids.   The ones who really don’t care what everyone might be thinking about them or their ideas.  The ones who dare to appear foolish.  Dare to make a mistake.

Think of just about anything great that’s ever been accomplished or created or spoken…most often, you’ll find it was done by an Unafraid.

“Dare to suck.”  Another writer friend of mine was given this bit of advice by an older, successful musician. 

Maybe you don’t like the choice of words.  But that phrase also hit me.

So.  Call it a resolution or a hope or a challenge.  In 2009, I will strive to be braver.  Less afraid. 

A fool, perhaps.

Because life is moving ever so quickly…no time to waste on silliness or self-anything. 

Better to be a fool for something you really believe in. 

Here's to swinging the bat.

:) cnw