You know that saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”? Since opening my creative business and making big dreams come true, I’ve become a believer in the “uncomfortable zone.” Even though I often face scary challenges that leave me feeling vulnerable to failure and defeat, the rewards I’ve received have heavily outweighed the risks I’ve taken.
As we are each in creative business, I’m sure you’ve felt vulnerable about your work and business plan, too. I imagine you know how difficult “putting yourself out there” can be. I’m sure that you can relate to the fear and hesitation that feels inescapable when doing something you’ve never done before … because as creative business owners, we regularly have to try things we’ve never done before.
For the purposes of this article, I looked up the definition of “vulnerable.” From Dictionary.com, the three different uses for the word are:
- capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.
- open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation.
- (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.
For example, I’m currently organizing an east coast weekend workshop to which I plan to sell 100 tickets to like-minded creative entrepreneurs. You should see the looks I get when I share this goal with people who know me in the physical world. My business lives online, as do my colleagues and dream clients and customers. None of that makes sense to my friends and extended family because they can’t see it, nor have they ever heard of such a thing before.
I pulled a card this morning, and it was a message I knew had to be shared. Each next step in your creative business brings you to another vulnerable bridge. Even though you’ve already crossed many vulnerable bridges to get to the safe and solid ground you’re standing on now, the next bridge to appear on your path always presents more difficult challenges to overcome. These scary and seemingly unsafe bridges can sometimes make the journey utterly exhausting.
If you’re facing the next vulnerable bridge in business, you’re sure to love these words as much as I did:
The intellect employs an interesting strategy to avoid feeling insecure and facing possible pain or disappointment, especially in matters of the heart: It gathers as much information as possible in advance of a commitment. This works up to a point, but it will never be a substitute for gaining the wisdom and understanding that only come out of direct experience.
Your soul’s purpose right now is to learn about love by entering intimate relationships. Surrender control, and open your heart to these lessons. Ignore secondhand opinions and warnings from others to play it safe, and give in to intimacy.
Your soul’s lesson: Stop trying to avoid pain and disappointment by withholding your heart and commitment. Reflect on and decide what type of love you want from others, and then ask for it! If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can’t expect anyone else to know, so be honest and take your time. If you’re afraid of intimacy or fear rejection, admit it. And don’t give more to others than you feel comfortable with, only to resent it later when you don’t collect the anticipated return.
You see, just before you take your first steps to cross the vulnerable bridge ahead of you, your mind plays tricks to protect your heart. You then desperately seek reassurance from others, and if you’re anything like me, most of the people you know in the real world can’t comprehend your vision, let alone the obstacles you currently face.
Moreover, if the bridge is especially vulnerable (higher and scarier than you’ve ever traveled before), the “secondhand opinions and warnings from others to play it safe” can stop you dead in your tracks for days, months, even years. And you’ll get stuck there until your desire for what’s on the other side of that vulnerable bridge trumps all, and you just go for it.
As for the scary bridge in front of you? it’s never as bad as it seems. What’s it like on the other side? I’m crossing one high and scary bridge right now; I’ll tell you all about it when I get there.