What is my biggest fear? It's not death, or spiders, or heights, or sharks, or any of those things. It is something more along the lines of: fear of failure, or fear of loss, being judged, or losing control, which I think could all be combined into the fear of owning my choices, and being ok with the outcome, good or bad.
I live in a society that celebrates the winner and vilifies the loser. Might be an opinion, it's likely one you share as well; one that is an overwhelming perception that what our society fails to show is how many times the heroes we glorify have had to fall in order to fly. We aren't shown the long hard slog to victory, and so we are left with this sense of needing to be an overnight success, and anything but is looked at as a failure, or undesirable.
Recognising this societal conditioning as a generator of my fear is one thing. Another is to accept the antidote, that life happens for us not to us, we make the choices, what happens happens for a reason, and so all outcomes are good, because those are the outcomes we require, in that moment, to grow and move forward on the path to success. I am resisting this, big time.
I am finding myself 'down at the crossroads,' not quite on my hands and knees, but not far off. Why? Because there are so many choices, which nobody but I can make, and as outlined above, my biggest fear is that the consequences of making those choices might not result in a positive outcome. I think the fear is further compounded by the fact that the choices I make don't impact only me, they also impact my young kids and wife, and so a negative outcome will inhibit me from providing the best life possible for them, I know most people can relate to that. I'm not responsible for just me, maybe that's an excuse, but it feels irresponsible of me to not consider my immediate little clan.
It's possible that I am also afraid of hard work, and/or starting over, knowing full well that anything I will be successful at is going to require hard work and many years of it in the pursuit of greatness. At 35 years old do I want to start again, again? I did the Hospitality thing for seven years, even got a bachelor's degree in it before embarking on a career running restaurants, followed by the radical shift to the technology industry. I still remember the pain of the learning curve, selling enterprise implementation services, and now software. Eight or so years in, I'm finding myself somewhat uninspired and unfulfilled, but also SUPER comfortable, I definitely have it good. Surely though, there are more important things I could be doing for the planet, for my community, for my family. Or is this just my ego talking at me? Hard to know for sure.
Time for me to now own up to the fact that most of, if not all, my professional choices have been based on the pursuit of money. I imagine this is the case for most people, again societal or familial pressures largely at play. You know, the pressure to be a doctor or a lawyer etc.. The last professional choice I made was to join a seemingly amazing company, one pioneering the doing well and doing good movement. This company pays well and takes a stance on all of the major social issues. We even get seven paid days off per year for giving back in a meaningful way, which certainly has its feel good factor. So I am in a good spot, where my choice wasn't based solely on money. Maybe I'm just not trusting this, because it is too good to be true, or because after three years I have seen many inconsistencies that brings the goodness into question. At the end of the day it is a publicly traded company, and so it must pursue growth to thrive, funny, the product we sell not only improves customer experience, but promotes the growth of other businesses using it.
Lately I have questions swirling around my head, mainly, is financial growth really what we should all be striving for? How much growth is sustainable, especially in a world that is rapidly dying due to the overconsumption of all things? How do we begin to change the narrative to get more companies, and investors to invest responsibly, to think about how they are impacting the world? Should we be doing business with companies that are harming the planet, or the workers that produce their goods and services, or the people who consume those goods and services? The obvious answer is no, but somehow the Monsantos and Exxon Mobiles and many other are not seemingly under pressure to really change; surely they shouldn't deserve our business or partnership. I know that I am doing everything in my power to be conscious about how I spend my money, I am also being considerate about what companies I work with in a professional sense. The biggest question is what more can I do, should I create a company that competes on stronger morals and values? Should I work for another company that promotes stronger morals and value, I would be hard pressed to find one.
And so I am sitting here paralysed by my own thoughts and fears, but also just filled with ideas not really knowing if they are things I truly want to do, or if they are things society and my social circle has conditioned me to think I want to do. Also not knowing what impact these ideas will have on the world, or my future, or my family's future. Nothing, outside of raising a family, seems to feel right at the moment. Am I letting fear get the best of me? Possibly. Do nothing is a choice that we often forget about, and maybe that's the choice I need to be okay with, for now, or at least until I really know what I want going forward.