31 Days:: Risk
Day 16: Risk
I recently submitted an original writing piece to another website to see if they’d be interested in publishing it. I read the guidelines for the specific site I was aiming at, watched a video with helpful tips on guest posting, wrote from my heart, told my story, edited the crap out of it, asked Hubby and a few friends to look it over and give me feedback, edited some more… and then, after a few days’ work, clicked “Submit.”
It was both thrilling and a bit scary at the same time.
I had never done such a thing before. While of course I hoped that my piece would be a good fit for the site I was submitting it to, and of course I would have loved the affirmation an acceptance letter would have given me, I must be honest: I was mostly just super duper proud of myself for grabbing enough courage to face my fear of rejection. That was a huge step for me! I had never before written for the eyes of anyone who I knew would be officially “judging” my work: REAL writers and REAL editors would be looking at MY words to see if they were “good enough” to be posted on their space.
I kept feeling the need to make it better, to make it more fluid, to make it into what I thought they would like and what would fit well into their online “home.” Of course, the insecure, needy part of me wanted to impress and to please the site’s editors. But deep down, as always, I wanted to be completely authentic and honest and “me.” So I worked hard to stick within their word count range and to tried to make something that would fit what their readers are looking for while still remaining true to myself and my story.
It was challenging and exciting… and it felt risky to me.
But there’s something I have been repeatedly reminded of over the past few years: experiencing fear and insecurity and risk is part of the human condition. In fact: last week I stumbled upon The Influence and Impact Summit, a collection of interviews with many of the world’s most influential leaders. For seven days I had the honor and privilege of being able to hear stories and gain insight from incredible people like Lysa TerKeurst and Jen Hatmaker and John Maxwell and Dave Ramsey and John Acuff and Pat Flynn and Michael Hyatt. It was wonderful. And do you know what is one thing I heard almost every single one of them say? Even the most God-centered, obviously gifted, ridiculously talented, financially successful of them? They, too, have to face down fear and insecurity almost every day of their lives. They fear they might fail. They fear they might look stupid. They fear they might be making a mistake. They fear everything will all come crashing down… But they go for it anyway. And sometimes it is a total flop. And sometimes they do write books that aren’t mind-blowingly great. And sometimes they do get criticism that emotionally knocks the wind out of them. Sometimes their efforts don’t go well. Yet they keep putting themselves out there. They keep trying new things. They keep risking failure or embarrassment or rejection… because that’s the only way to truly grow or to find out what really does work.
Apparently this “living vulnerably”— both inter-relationally and in the business world— is the only way to find either true connection or true success. It is the necessary risk associated with wholehearted living. As Brené Brown says, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.”
So what happened to that guest post article I submitted last month? Well… to tell you the truth: nothing much. It wasn’t accepted. I was told it was good and that they’d like to hear from me again the next time they open up their doors for guest posts, but this particular piece wasn’t going to fit with their themes at this particular time.
So there you go.
And do you know what? Shockingly: I was neither sad nor disappointed. Sure, there was a small part of me that was a tiny bit bummed out. It would have been cool to say that my very first attempt at a guest post was met with applause and open arms. But I knew before I even submitted the piece that, come rain or shine, I was proud of the work I had done. I really enjoyed the experience. I enjoyed the challenge of staying within a certain word count, and structuring my piece in a way that fit their preferred format, and stretching myself to write on the themes they were currently pursuing. It was a stimulating gauntlet for me. And since what I wrote really was from my heart and was meaningful to me, I was proud of my effort.
So yes, in a certain sense, I failed— my piece was rejected. But honestly: I can truthfully say that I’m not hurt or angry or annoyed or sad at all. In fact, I’m really glad I did it. I learned a lot from that small experience and I’m excited about the next time I take on a challenge like that.
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What about you?
Do you struggle with fear or insecurity? How do you deal with it?
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.