A phrase that I’ve used as a mantra is “step into uncertainty.”
As creatives, as writers, as entrepreneurs, and even as people navigating everyday life, we are constantly navigating uncertainty.
My impression is many people think of creatives and entrepreneurs as people who throw their entire being into the unknown. I feel like we’re seen as throwing ourselves off a cliff as some kind of tribute to the creative and entrepreneurial gods. If we’re deemed “good enough” by these gods, we might be saved.
My reality has been quite different. I describe us as “stepping into uncertainty.” The relationship we have with uncertainty is one of curiosity, exploration, and incremental commitment.
We think and act probably more like a rover sent onto a far away planet or asteroid. We try to safely explore in small steps. We limit risks. We take time to analyze the situation. We take time to experiment (safely). And if the situation seems too dangerous, we turn tail and retreat. Better to wait for a safer day to step into uncertainty than one day of foolish bravado and machismo.
As I’m stepping into organizing, activism, the arts, and entrepreneurship, one of the realizations I’ve had is how many people are involved in these activities. There is no one person show.
When I’m creating and collaborating, and a lot of times seeking out guidance and advice, the people who are helping me are doing this for free. They’re taking time out of their lives to meet with me for coffee, or take a call after work. They could be doing their own work, or chores, or relaxing, or sleeping. But they chose to speak to me.
The only thing I can currently offer is taking the time to express my thanks for their energy and my appreciation.
Any success I would have in the future would be because of the people who have been willing to support me, lift me up, and pull me up. It would be egotistical, unfair, and outright dishonest to claim all the glory.
Yes, I would have worked hard to get there. Yes, I may have taken on risk. Yes, I may have had more responsibility and pressure to get there. But I didn’t do it by myself.
If I’m not gonna pay them for reaching a milestone*, than the least I can do is express my deepest thanks.
*But really, I would love to be able to pay them.
When I was working a “traditional job”, it was quite easy to keep my personal life and work life separate. (As in I kept them as separate as possible.) Now, I’m stepping into positions, roles, and growing the Asian American Literary Collective as an organization, the separation of personal life and work have become blurred. My Facebook messages (and text messages) have become a mish mash of work, friends, friends I work with, and co-workers I’m friends with.
This is awesome because it means I’m allowed to open up, be my full self, and reach my potential.
At the same time, this is raising the problem of how to “shut it down” when Facebook (and texting) is both work and social. (Texting is a little worse because my texting app doesn’t let me “mark as unread”.)
When I’m trying to rest, seemingly harmless conversations slip into topics closer to “work” too easily. A lot of times it’s even my fault!
Here are some solutions I’ve come up with so far:
- Not using Facebook as a “rest” website.
- Being more okay with leaving texts on unread
- My “rest” should not be on a screen
- Going for a walk
- Doing some stretches / exercises
- Taking a 10 minute nap / meditating
- Doing a quick journal session for an emotional check in
Have other people run into this too? Anyone else have any other ideas or suggestions?