It’s been over two years now since I left my “real job” to pursue being a full-time writer, speaker, coach, consultant.
And can I confess something to you?
Most months, I don’t have a clue what the best next step is. Or where the money is going to come from next. And I’m still driving the same ’93 Honda Civic Hatchback I have been driving since I was 17 years old.
Obsessive Comparison Disorder seeps into my mind and heart as I look upon the lives of friends and wonder if I’ve royally screwed up mine.
I take a lot of walks, searching for clarity while simultaneously trying to escape that “Oh crap” feeling. Fear slithers its fingers inside my chest and my heart feels boa-constrictored. My mind tells me one thing, my emotions another, and my legs tell me to run like hell.
I start fantasying about working an 8-5 job. Where someone gives me instructions that I follow. Where I can hang out with co-workers when I’m bored. Where I shift life back into cruise control and ease my seat back for awhile. Where 401lks and safety nets line my steps, instead of the free-fall that I feel awaits me most days.
I don’t feel like a conventional life is a suit I was called to wear; yet sometimes I wonder if I need to go to the dry cleaners and get my suits ready.
But on other days, I know this is the work I need to be doing.
I know this is something I cannot NOT do. I know that fear is lying to me. I get an email from one of you and it confirms the why behind the what.
My wife Naomi and I have chosen an uncharted path and are creating the map as we go. It’s exhilarating and terrifying in the same step.
Yet, if I say I live by faith, and then let fear make my daily decisions, then faith is nothing more than a word, not a way of life.
Why am I telling you all this?
I think it has something to do with this:
I was being interviewed by Ryan Michler on the great podcast called The Order of Man – which is about how men be –previous guests being marines, firefighters, survival specialists, men with epic beards, you name it. The host asked me basically what’s the most important thing men can do to be real men.
I quickly searched my mind for a manly tip on how to properly clean a fish or fix a flat tire in under a minute. Instead I told him what I think the most manly thing a man can do–be courageous enough to be vulnerable.
I’d say the need to be vulnerable isn’t a manly thing–it’s a humanly thing. We all need to be brave enough to be vulnerable.
It takes courage to talk about where you lack the most courage.
I talk a lot about the need to be authentic with each other.
We’re all struggling to make it look like we’re not struggling.
Yet, if I sing about the need for all of us to be authentic, while I in-authentically hide behind each piece of advice and the exciting parts of my journey, then I’m just another clanging symbol amidst a cacophony of needless, merciless, unending, unknowing, inauthentic noise.
The walls we build trying to protect our image only keep people away. We try to keep our wounded pride in tact, while it’s lying lifeless on the floor.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again right now because I know I need the reminder:
We don’t connect with each other through our pretend perfection. We connect over our shared struggle.
We have to be courageous enough to open the doors and let others really see inside.
And honestly, if I can just get really real with you right now. I wouldn’t be able to handle any of this if I didn’t truly believe and know that God is here with me in all my questions, imperfections, insecurities, and fears. If I didn’t sense in my spirit him saying, “Relax. We’re in this together,” I would be an inoperable mess.
I know enough about me to know there’s not enough of me to fix me.
I can’t do surgery on myself.
So here’s a piece of my struggle for you to see inside. To hopefully encourage you in yours. Whether you feel like you’re failing, you’re smack dab in the middle of a quarter life crisis, losing inspiration, or you just can’t seem to feel normal again.
Let’s keep going.
Groan Up life is hard and we can’t do it alone.
I’ll keep trying new things here at All Groan Up to be the best resource and inspiration I can be. I don’t have it all figured out, but I know I’m not supposed to.
I’m not supposed to ease the angst by pretending it’s not there. There are answers in the angst if I’m willing to vulnerably sit in it and ask the hard questions.
The journey is half the fun. It’s also they only way to make it anywhere.
The journey is where the real learning and growth takes place so that we’re ready for the destination.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments on this article.