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day 1062: go on and show up

So I've been thinking a lot lately about risks. And the fact that inherent in each risk is a bit of a leap. Leap of an entrepreneur, leap of a relationship, leap of faith, and leap of disclosure that brings you closer to (or further away from) your goal.

Those of you who know me well know that I am - plainly put - risk averse. Or at least when I do stuff that flies in the face of the risk inherent in it, I do it with my eyes wide shut, and with a relatively real fear that I'm going to pass out, throw up, fall over and die (sometimes not necessarily in that order).

Truth be told, I'm scared sugar-honey-iced-tea-less of lots of things. Of the most banal things like falling forward as I walk down a staircase, to confronting a revolving door as though it were my first rodeo in double dutch.

Even when I went skydiving, I was pukish from 14,000 feet in the sky to zero on the ground and for the three hours that followed after that. All this while my other friends descended in their parachutes in slow motion, and as they touched ground, they looked like Charlie's Angels whipping their long and short locks in the sun - just another bad ass activity in a regular day's work. I couldn't quite get the rhythm of it. I felt hasty, or too slow, and conscious - ever-conscious of hitting something. Hard.

I think this latent fear puts a pallor (maybe not so much a pallor, but an unexpected hue) on many things. It keeps me comfortable in certain seats, and in my professional life, has made me master at being a solid #2. A person behind a person doing some wildly cool things, but still one step shy of being the person at the helm.

Now I could easily share countless reasons as to why this is the case - everything from "I'm good at it." to "I believe in distributed leadership and isn't it better to have a band of merry fellows rather than a solo artist?" But the real answer is: I'm just plain scared. (Sorry Sheryl Sandberg, I said it.)

One day, as with others on my tripped out bucket list (skydiving? check.), I will do it. I will sit in the seat of the Lord Mayor and be good at it. But I will also want to throw up, make an ass out of myself on occasion, and be scared to death most days in the process. And maybe that's a cool thing. Maybe that's a more than cool thing. Because it is the leadership that ascends by accident even - in spite of our scary selves and because of our scared selves - that makes us ever stronger, ever real, and hopefully ever impactful.

One day I'll do it. I'll double dutch my way into it. And while I may be more Charlie than Angel when I land, it will feel good - scratch that, great - to have taken the risk.

Go on and show up with your bad self. Go on and do it.

Maria Kim

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    - Dollars to Dumplings - day 1062: go on and show up

Reader Comments (1)

OMG Maria! This. Is. Me. and that This. Is. You. makes being me and feeling these feelings a little less terrible. Many thanks for putting it this out there. I think as long as we keep doing the things we are scared of it doesn't matter with how much (perceived) elegance we go about do it. The point is we do it at all and perhaps MORE laudable that we do in the face of such person fear, pain and general tummy trouble. Maybe my favorite MK post ever. Big hugs, Sejal

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