I am My Own Dream Catcher

Dreamcatcher Image, by Christina StumphToday I took a risk and it scared the crap out of me.

For the most part, I don’t consider myself much of a risk taker. I’m a methodical planner. I hope for the best, but  prepare for the worst. But the reality is we can be as prepared as possible, and it doesn’t mean a thing. ANYTHING can happen. There are no guarantees. There is no 100%.

I used to let fear of rejection rule my destiny. I was caught in a paralyzing cycle of wanting, dreaming, and preparing, followed by never taking action, and then always wondering “what if.” It’s depressing, and nothing ever happens.

And then I worked my ass off (and I still am) to learn an art and start and grow a business. And then my fear of rejection turned into a fear of rejection with a side of emotional investment. Being rejected when it’s tied to whether or not you can put food on the table is no joke. Add being rejected after you feel like you have built somewhat of a personal relationship with people, and it’s enough to make you want to go fetal.

Now I have learned, albeit the hard way, to have a thick skin. As I said to one of my friends lately, for every 100 people you please, one will never be pleased. Not everyone is meant to get along or see eye to eye. That’s just life, babe, so get out there and chase your dreams! MAKE it happen!

Which is exactly why I took a risk today.

Someone whom I, and many people who will read this, admire greatly posted on Facebook that she is looking for freelance designers. At first I was giddy with excitement. It could be me! And so I started to respond. And the fear took over. What if she thinks my work sucks? I deleted my comment. And then I re-wrote it. And deleted it. And then I thought, what is the worst that could happen? She’ll say “no thank you.” And I’ll survive, knowing that I took a risk. I put myself out there, and that is something to be proud of.

And I’ll never have to worry about “what if.”

So, with shaky hands and a hopeful heart, I responded.

Because I am my own dream catcher.

How would your life be different if you had, or had NOT taken a risk?

My passion project: Reclaiming my power so I can be here for everyone else

passion and success quote from Walter CronkiteThe NaBloPoMo prompt for today is: Are you pursuing a passion project?

It is funny that this prompt comes today. Since last week I have been mulling over a blog post about how women set personal and professional goals and prioritize life so they can be better to themselves, their children, spouses, and what have you. I am my passion project. I am reclaiming my power so I can be better all-around.

Have you ever been in a really dark place but didn’t know it until you came out of it? That’s how I feel about my whole life. Nothing bad has really happened, in the scheme of all that could happen. But life HAS happened, and somewhere, I think a VERY long time ago, I lost myself. My mother would say that sometime in the tween/pre-puberty years, I lost my power.

And so I’m trying to take the power back by taking the time to pursue my professional goals, which to be honest are also my personal goals. After having my kids and being home with them it has become obvious that I wanted, no NEEDED to have a career. I HAVE to be successful at something outside of raising my family. I need that validation that comes from having a successful career. I need to use my brain or I go to very deep, dark places. Also, someday both of the kids will be in school, and I don’t want to be a droid working in an office. I need to keep myself fresh so I can take off when they do.

But for a while I didn’t know what to do for a career. I knew I needed to do something that I could do mostly from home. We need the income, but the cost of going to work is outrageous. Plus I still want to be home with my kids. I still want to be here after school, and have the flexibility when they are sick, or there is a vacation day. Or to be a room mother. Or whatever.

I also knew I need to create, so after a lot of trial and error, I decided on graphic and web design, and later, blogging. I already have a ton of student loans, so I didn’t feel like I could justify another degree. So I had to totally retrain myself. With several years of training and practicing behind me I am spending less time working for money doing jobs I hate, and more time building my business. I am now taking risks (by not working as much for pay) and spending a lot of time writing, networking, and working for free to build my portfolio and reputation. This is not easy on the family since I do still have to work for pay, and so I have to squeeze a lot in to every day. But we manage, and we are all learning how to better manage our time and fulfill each others needs. And I am much happier.

I HAD to find something that was me. I was not being a good mother. I was not being a good wife. I was not being good to me. I had to find an outlet for my creative energy and emotions. Simply being at home is not good for me. I need contact. And I am not afraid to say I need validation. Who doesn’t?

I am my passion project and I am taking my power back, and we are all better for it.

What is your passion project? Have you, or do you plan to make time to pursue your own goals? Do you think it is important for you to do this in order to be good to everyone around you?