Self Doubt Landed on the Moon

I am glad I didn’t commit to a timeline on my blog.  A lot has happened since my last entry.

I did my first gig with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (https://myfwc.com/) Law Enforcement Division.  In the days and weeks I spent preparing for and the time I spent with these great citizens, I really came to admire them.  They are deeply committed to enforcing the law every day.  And every day they go up to people who are legally armed – hunters, fishermen, etc.  What I found equally admirable, and slightly more compelling, was their collective vision for the future and a selfless commitment to the preservation of our environment.  I am grateful for what each of you do.

I wanted to use this blog as my reflection blog and simultaneously include content. It hasn’t worked exactly how I intended but I am still in my first year of learning.  I still intend to share my personal journey in case anyone decides they want to chase a dream, start a company, I am happy to share the ride. I am glad I decided to give Clear Way Forward at least a year before I decided to do it full time or not.  There is a lot to learn.  Building a sales pipeline is the hardest. Most folks don’t want to do cold calling, dialing for dollars, but I am learning.  Because you must always feed the beast and until my content or other customers start carrying my message, I have to figure out ways to get my services out there. All the while maintain all my other roles in life. But I shall not wither.  I am committed to the sine wave that leads to success.  The book I am reading right now is Napoleon Hill’s “Think and get Rich.”  While I am not simply after money, the advice is good to help me maintain focus.  It was the right book at the right time.

I am also learning to journal from Rob Dial (http://www.mwfmotivation.com/).  I journaled during my transition out of the Marine Corps in 2015 and I learned the value of it, but now I want to learn from a pro on how to get the most value of it. 

This journey is hard and you’d better be ready to fight the self-doubt demons.

I might suggest one thing all humanity has in common is self-doubt. If you dream, strive, set goals, attempt anything, self-doubt is likely present. Even the greatest leaders, when their stories are told, we learn of their struggles and doubts.  But they persevered and succeeded.

Accepting self-doubt’s presence in your life is critical to your success, achieving your goals, leading an organization through change, whatever journey you might be on.  On this anniversary of Apollo 11, I love this lesson on self-doubt (manifested as imposter syndrome) from Neil Gaiman, famous British author:

Some years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

Moonshot, going to Mars, space travel is en vogue again and re-entered our lexicon.  I think it is a great thing. We need heroes.  We need to admire people with the courage to take a “moonshot” (not limited to the physical domain) to go discover something new, to venture where no one else has.  We need real people, real stories to inspire us and make us wonder: “what if?”  But we need to remember that they are human. Flawed by design. And if one of our heroes, the very person who represents these inspiring metaphors lives with self-doubt for only going where he was sent, maybe it is okay for all of us to have doubt.

I love how Gaiman concludes because I feel like I am there all the time: 

Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

What’s your moonshot? Lead Well

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