A friend of mine asked me the other day: What scares you?
After giving the funny, cheesy answers I thought about the real one.
What actually scares me the most is getting to the end of my life and feeling like I hadn’t reached my full potential. That I hadn’t made the most of the opportunities I was given. That I hadn’t harnessed the inner resources that exist within me because comfortable circumstances hadn’t called them forth.
Deeper within all that is a fear that I’ll have lived a mediocre life. Nothing particularly unique. Nothing remarkable. Nothing that truly has an impact or leaves a legacy in the world. Nothing that makes a Dent. This isn’t rhetoric, its a deep-seeded fear.
What constitutes making my Dent? That’s a question I’m grappling with. I believe defining it will be the pinnacle of my life’s work and I’m on a journey to discovering it. The answer to that question is probably one of the most important questions I’ll ever answer in my life.
F*ck, in reality, most of the time I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m making it up as I go along. Doing the best with what I know and hungry to learn more so I can keep pace with my ambition. Yet, often falling short and feeling inadequate.
That’s the big picture. On a day to day it varies. Sometimes I’m scared about money. The business being disrupted and falling apart. Not being able to lead and influence the team in the way I want. Not being able to convey the message of our brand with the impact it deserves. I’m scared of being lonely. I’m scared of not making the most of my relationships with family, friends, lovers etc.
What’s funny is I think about these questions often and deeply. Probably too much. And often I feel pretty afflicted by them in the moment, which ironically detracts from me feeling truly happy and content in the world. Yet, when I haphazardly fall into those moments of real gratitude for what I’ve got or the little pleasures in life – all of that dissolves away. Or when I appreciate everything I’ve already achieved and look back at the big picture, the pain of discontent fades.
The lesson I’ve learnt is this: Our ambition and simultaneously our contentment is locked in the tension between those two polarities – our greatest fear and our greatest achievement. I believe the bigger the tension, the more extraordinary your life will be.
Question is, what’s your tension?