On Falling from Horses, and wallowing in the Mud

I have fallen from my horse.

And here in the mud, I’ve learned something strange:

It is not the bruises that bother me, nor the scrapes & scratches.

It’s the embarassment, that I’ve failed – and it feels like everyone can see.

It’s the lost opportunity – my horse has run on without me, and my own two legs will never carry me fast enough to catch up to it.

And it’s the fear – that maybe everyone else will think I belong in the mud, that I never deserved a horse in the first place.

Looking ahead, I see everyone else riding confidently off into the sunset, and am convinced that they are all secretly laughing at me. That I alone have fallen into the mud, and will never again rejoin the company of riders.

Heh.

Mud blind us. It paralyses us with fear, guilt, embarassment, loss, and isolation. It turns our own faculties against us, deceiving us until we begin to wonder if we deserve to be trapped here in the mud-puddle for all of time.

And so we worry.

“If I stand back up again – if I try to catch my horse, or saddle a new one – I’ll only end up falling back into the cold slimy mud.”

It sounds so reasonable, so sensible, so very mature & clever & careful.

But when you’re reasoning from the mud-puddle, there’s only one truth that matters.

You’ve got to get back on your horse.

Make That Decision

… you know the one I’m talking about.

The one the swirls behind your eyelids when you’re trying to sleep.

The one that changes your mood completely when you think about it as you munch on breakfast.

The one that you fret about, and worry you might choose wrong.

Don’t be reckless. Sit down, do the research, talk to the people your care about. Work out the costs, understand the risks, know whyyou need to choose.

And then, decide.

Maybe you choose one way, maybe the other. But life is too short to leave important choices languishing forever on the backburner of indecision.

Don’t let it hold you captive anymore.

 

Make that decision.

 

Footnote: As I was drafting this, Seth Godin’s latest blog post landed in my email. If you’ve a decision you need to make, he has some very good advice, right here.

A candid self-assessment: Ignifluous vs. 30×500

An understatement

So … I can be the stubborn sort. From time to time.

Particularly, I can be petulant when it comes to changing things about myself. It is a flaw that I struggle against, and one of my weapons in this fight is throwing myself into challenging situations. Put myself in places I can’t help but change and grow, as it were.

Which is why (among myriad other reasons), when I discovered Amy Hoy’s incredible 30×500 Launch Class at the beginning of 2012, I knew that I HAD to take it.

And that equally, I needed to succeed at it – not to prove anything to anyone, but because I needed it – no matter what it took.

30×500 is an all-consuming whirlwind of mindset change & personal growth – and teaches you the foundations for building a product business that is successful, sane & humane.

And it is HARD.

Realistic hope

But – and here’s the thing – it is good hard. It is the kind of hard that keeps you coming back for more. The kind of difficult that keeps you awake late at night, as you brainstorm new ways of tackling the challenge.

It is honest. Amy never paints 30×500 as a comfortable cruise, or a rosy prance in a field of wildflowers. Realistic pragmatism is the name of the game at Camp 30×500 – and it’s not always comfortable seeing yourself in the unflattering mirror of reality. But it is worth it – if you don’t realise something is broken, you don’t have a hope of fixing it.

But 30×500 is not a futile escape attempt from the Steamroller of Despair. There is a clear path laid before you, in carefully curated detail, that makes it obvious that, “Yes – that is actually possible for me to achieve, if I just keep going”. It sets lofty goals, and then shows you concrete steps to get there.

Add to that a hugely supportive community of new students, returning students & alumni. For me, part-way through the course at the moment, this has been critical. I’ve stumbled repeatedly, gotten stuck, fallen behind, been stubborn – and every time the class has been there to listen, share experiences, and help me to get back on track.

TL;DR

I’m about 2/3rds through 30×500 at the moment, deep in a frenzy of research & analysis. At this point, I’m very aware of my shortcomings – and very confident that if I keep putting in the work, keeping working forward, and stay connected to the class, I will overcome them. As Amy puts it,

“Rules + Process + Effort = Result”

30×500 has offered me hope, and shown me a clear, sensible, pragmatic, repeatable approach to get there. It’s presented by a talented teacher that really cares, and is taken alongside a group of amazing students at different stages of their journey.

It has changed the way I think in ways that are already proving immensely valuable to me.

And slowly but surely, it is helping me replace my petulant stubbornness with productive determination.

What more could I possibly ask for?

(If you want to learn more about Amy’s 30×500 course, check out her website, http://unicornfree.com/)