“To be brave, you have to be a little scared.” – Dwayne Johnson, Skyscraper
By this point, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I just quoted the slightly unrealistic, yet extremely entertaining, blockbuster hit of the summer: Skyscraper. Yes, a slightly cheesy line, but it hit me right in the feels because it’s SO TRUE.
Anyone who tells you that they are never scared in life is one of two things: a liar or a coward. Because if you ever do anything worth doing, you’re gonna be at least a little scared, and if you aren’t doing anything that scares you, you’re cowering away in fear.
Side note: if you aren’t doing anything that scares you because you’re scared of doing that scary thing, you’re still scared. Boom, nailed it.
Think about it… Your first date. Going off to college. Marriage. Buying a house. Launching your own business. You get the idea. Things that scare you are the things most worth doing. They are the things most worth summoning courage and bravery for!
All that to say, at the end of every podcast I end the episode by saying “Go do something brave today.” In essence, I’m telling you to rev the engine and go crashing through the walls of your comfort zone. I’m telling you to do something that scares you. Because in order to be brave, you HAVE to be scared.
Why is this important? Let me answer this question with a question… why do most people take the easy way out in life? Because it’s comfortable. It’s inside the walls of comfort that life is wasted and potential is unrealized. Think about the vast majority of people who tolerate a miserable job and live life only for the weekend. They look forward to 2 days every week! What a crazy idea! This thought isn’t original to me, I have to give credit where it’s due – Gary Vaynerchuk. One of his major platforms is how absolutely absurd it is that someone would spend 75% of their life being miserable only looking forward to a small 25% of their life. When you think about it that way, it’s so crazy! Why would we waste 5 1/2 (the work week) precious days a week looking towards 2 1/2 days (the weekend), then repeat until death. However, this is the sad reality for most. And let me tell you something, being scared, whether it’s fear of failure or fear of other people’s opinions or whatever kind of fear, it isn’t a good enough reason to settle into a miserable career. Dreams don’t become a reality without fear.
Being scared comes with the territory of chasing your dreams. Thus, most people just don’t. It’s easy to go get a job, work 9-5 for some random corporation, make a steady paycheck from the word “go”, and get into a routine until you’re old and eligible to retire. Screw that. How boring! No, I’d rather be scared and uncomfortable every day than live a boring and miserable life. The risk is worth the reward.
Now, let me say this, there is NOTHING WRONG with working a 9-5 style job for some random corporation, making a steady paycheck from the word “go”, until you’re eligible to retire, if and only IF it is your dream to do so! If that’s your goal, if it’s your passion, freaking do it and be the best! However, chances are, if you’re reading THIS blog post on THIS website, that couldn’t be further from your dream. If this is true, you and I are in the same boat, my friend.
I recently watched, for the first time, an old George Clooney movie (don’t judge me for my movie references) called “Up In The Air.” Essentially, Clooney is a professional at firing people from their job. George works for a third party company that corporate organizations will hire to let people go during times of downsizing, so that, the company doing the downsizing doesn’t actually have to do the dirty work. Scene after scene George is seen firing people with charisma and charm. The poor people losing their jobs react in many different ways – anger, sadness, fear, etc… There is one scene in particular where George lets a man go who has worked for his employer for 20+ years. He’s in his mid 50s, hairline receding, dressed nicely in a button down shirt and tie. George breaks the news to the man – he’s fired. The man very calmly pulls out a picture of his kids and shows it to Clooney. He asks, what do I do about them? What am I supposed to tell my kids? How do I go from 90K a year to absolutely nothing overnight? How will I make my mortgage payment? What will my kids think of me?
It’s a gut-wrenching moment, but Clooney pulls it out of the gutter. He looks down at a piece of paper and begins to talk about the recently fired man’s old resume. A resume that I’m sure he hadn’t thought twice about since he first got his job. Clooney says that he had noticed on the resume, under the header “Education,” it says French Culinary School. Clooney looks around the conference style room, studying intently through the windows at the surrounding work environment. He notes to the man that the place they are currently sitting in looks about like the farthest thing from a kitchen he has ever seen.
Then, George drops the bomb, “How much did this company have to start paying you for you to give up on your culinary dreams?”
Did you catch that? In essence, he was asking the man: “What was your starting pay at this company?” Dang. He proceeded to tell the man, this isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. You want your kids to look up to you? You want your kids to respect you? Then have the courage to pursue your dreams, if not for you, for them.
My jaw dropped a little while watching this very subpar movie from 2009. What a powerful statement from a rarely looked at perspective. This, however, is what happens to the majority of people. We graduate high school and college with huge aspirations and dreams, then when we realize how daunting they really are, we get scared, so we settle for whatever starting pay is at some random company, and covertly and unintentionally give up on our dreams and goals.
I don’t know how old you are. I don’t know where you work or how long you’ve worked there. I don’t know what your dreams are. I don’t know how much the company had to pay you for you to give up on your dreams. What I do know, is that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago – the second best time is now. If you have an idea, dream, or goal you can’t shake, quit trying to shake it and go make it happen! There are people all over the world just like you hunkering down in fear. Be brave. Stand up. Embrace the fear. Because to be brave, you have to be a little scared, and when make the decision to be brave, big things happen! So, what are you waiting for?! GO DO SOMETHING BRAVE TODAY!