For years – as in no fewer than 10 but maybe even more – I guarded a particularly terrifying secret. A secret so closely held, so paralyzing in nature, that no one – with the exception of my husband – knew.
And he tried all the textbook tactics to get me to divulge it openly – guilt, empathy, support, frustration, stopping somewhere beyond menacing threats to reveal it himself. But if we’re being completely honest, he did expose my secret, several times, in fact, to select family members and friends.
“Petitioner requests dissolution of the marriage based on ‘Blabber Mouthery.”
Something had to be done … and I knew what that something was. I just didn’t know when. Or how. Or … anything.
So I did what any rational, red-blooded American would do and I took to social media.
Because, really, if you’re going to come clean, you may as well march yourself to the town square’s whipping post to expedite your sentencing; I dimed myself out.
“I wrote a book. A children’s book. And its illustrations are now in final revisions. But making this (very public) declaration absolutely terrifies me. So consider this my immersion therapy. I mean, the very purpose of a book is to publicly share ideas, words, illustrations, right?”
“Hallelujah! Holy S***t! Where’s the Tylenol?”
Enter: Floggings. Stonings. Pitch forks. Torches. Stake burning. Absolute bedlam. Except, surprising no one more than me, none of what fear told me would happen actually happened. It was just the opposite, in fact.
Because fear lied.
The cyber support, ‘You go girl!’ and enthusiasm flooded in; the unexpected outpouring of support for publishing my book was so unimaginably humbling. It was beyond exciting and terrifying all at once and I would have never been so bold as to dare to imagine I’d be encouraged with such fervor and love, earning me the coveted 17,026th spot on Amazon its first week.
And as an aside, it also garnered me $38.84. I know, I know.
It’s in poor taste to brag about money, riches, more specifically. How déclassé, how nouveau riche.
I’m new to this tax bracket; forgive me.
And ultimately, I should’ve followed the lead of the titular character, Sebastian. He, along with his ‘fearless Scouts crew,’ traversed the globe. Sure, they were unaccompanied and unlicensed minors operating aircraft but what they lacked in credentials they more than made up for in fearlessness.
It’s the blissfully uninhibited fearlessness from childhood of which we could all use a healthy smattering. Leaders, political and executive, could stand to allow themselves more free-range imagination, operating from a fuel of passion – not of fear – in making decisions, taking stock in powerful solutions of passion and purpose, not of fear and reaction.
It’s almost hard to imagine a world of leaders that choose a path of proactivity, of positivity, of passion. But they exist, and they succeed. Fueled by colleagues, by clients, and inspired by innovators, respected leaders succeed because they squarely place their passion at the forefront of their every effort.
Wrights Brothers. Henry Ford. Marie Curie. Even Mark Zuckerberg, without whom I’d have no ‘town square’ upon which to thrust my dark, dirty secrets.
So for a moment, albeit perhaps a small, fleeting moment, I chose the path of my passion and my purpose, honoring the little voice inside me that wanted to follow the yellow brick road to what I always wanted to be … and then stand at the Emerald City’s town square and proclaim it to the world.