What Do You Say to Taking Chances?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
In honor of the new Glee season (just added the final four discs from season 2 to the Netflix queue . . . or should I say *ahem* Qwikster queue), here you go:

So what do I say to taking chances? Well, I'm kind of a risk adverse person. Sure, I've had my share of brave moments, but for the most part the thought of being uncomfortable makes me uncomfortable. Fear of  failure tends to debilitate me. 

I've spend a good amount of time on this blog talking about freelance writing and the day when I'll be self-employed with my writing. Obviously, I'm not there yet. Although I tell myself I'm being prudent, that I'm taking my time and building up clients and work so when I do go to writing full-time, it won't be so scary, after a certain point, prudence turns into stalling.

And stalling is a way to keep all those little voices in my head at bay. What if there's not enough work? What if there's not enough money? What if I . . . *gulp* fail?

We've reached the point in the season at work where it's time to have "the talk."  If you've ever temped or worked seasonally, you know what I'm talking about. "The talk" is that wonderful conversation with your work superiors where you talk about future plans like they're something concrete and you make important and unalterable decisions about contract extensions.

While theoretically, I should have had all summer to think of what I'll say during this talk and whether or not I'll sign on for another year, the truth is, I'm as muddled about how I feel about the whole thing now as I was in May. A big part of me wants to kiss this charade of me pretending to be a museum curator good-bye. The less impulsive side of me tells me I'm not quite ready to be off all by myself in work world yet.   Where will the money come from?

"Maybe don't garden next year," my friend Sarah said on Monday as I regaled her once again about my torn feelings about my employment options. "Sign the contract, work at the museum again next year, but spend your spare time focused on getting yourself set up for freelancing."

Don't garden?

It was horrifying thought. You mean, I'd have to give up something I love in order to get where I claim I want to be? How would I make it through the long winter if I didn't have seeds to start at the end of March?

But Sarah, who is by far more career focused and as such, much more successful than I am, had a point. I've been distracting myself with hobbies: canning, gardening, knitting. As much as I love them, as much satisfaction as they give me, I might just be using them as crutches. I could keep complaining about not having enough time to have it all, or I could . . . alter how I use my time. I'll repeat: it was a horrifying . . . horrifying thought. She'd just pointed out that I was the stick in the mud who created the situations I like to complain about.

So, what do I say to taking chances?

I'm not quite sure yet. Change is as scary as chances. But sometimes they're both necessary.


  1. Hmmm, I love the choices I have when it comes to changes and chances! And sometimes changes are necessary to find that what you have done before is just about what you actually prefer. Maybe with some slight adjustments....
    Maybe you arent that career-oriented? Maybe you have a different definition of success? Maybe you care for gardening and canning more then for the museum? Sell your stuff at the Farmers Market! Maybe you just jump into the cold water and I do not mean the lake!!! Ada, the world is on your fingertips.
    define success - what you truly want according to your heart desire in this very moment, not what you wanted 5 years ago - check it carefully, you may hold on to something which is not valid for you anymore. or has strengthened over time....find the validation inside yourself. Big warm hug

  2. Or scale back the garden and hobbies? I love what Paula had to say.

  3. i'm completely with you. i'm pretty much risk-averse. i have zero desire to sit in an office for 70+ hours a week, rip my hair out, make money for OTHER people, only to get-- what? a slightly better salary?
    ok, i'd take a slightly better salary. but i already to do work 60 hours a week... i don't think i could stomach working 7 days a week.
    i'll keep my hobbies, thanks.

  4. I wish that I were fearless enough to take the plunge with writing too, but I know I'm a long way off. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  5. okay, who is Paula and can she be my life coach? Ada, I can totally understand your struggles. I have a hard time taking risks AND making decisions. To me making decisions IS a risk. Fear of failure, yes. Fear of making the wrong decision and having regrets...all of it. I wrote a blog post about it that you might relate to. http://thinkinginmyheadma.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html

    Got some wonderful comments like you are getting here too. I was able to make the decision I wrote about, and am REALLY working on that in my life. But, this is a big issue--what do you want to be when you grow up? I still am not quite sure and I'm 46. Sigh...

  6. Oops. Sorry, I gave you the wrong link. It's http://thinkinginmyheadma.blogspot.com/2011/08/head-and-heart.html If you want to see it that is. I'm going to bookmark your post here and re-read it. Maybe help me get some good insight too!

  7. It's a big step. I think when I went full-time freelance for storytelling I didn't let myself think too much. But that's my style--to be impulsive--and I've had to learn how to plan and hold off and be practical.
    I love a quote by Goethe: "Whatever you think you can do or dream you can do, begin it; action has magic grace and power in it." Go for it. you can decide later whether or not you have time to garden. Try to live in the gray area rather than the black and white of all-or-nothing. I jump to that all-or-nothing idea and that often paralyzes me.


Related Posts with Thumbnails