Monday, July 5, 2010

Gone Fishin'... Seriously

I love cooking and eating fresh fish. I just never did much fishing. Oh, I used to take my kids fishing in Michigan. Buy them fresh bait, pack sandwiches and load up the skiff for an afternoon of reeling in blue gills.  But truthfully, I was sunbathing more than fishing.

I recently accepted an invitation to go fishing. Serious fishing. I have no idea what I'm doing.

After tormenting myself with a running trailer of anxieties (I fall out of the boat, I hook someone in the face, I cut my hand gutting a fish) I realize I've fallen into a trap. I have a habit of worrying about the unknown rather than embracing it. No matter how much experience I have in living what is a happy, fulfilling life, I'm still susceptible to paranoid fantasies about failure--however unfounded.

The good news is that I also catch myself at this game. When I attempt to play the "now fear this" tape, I willfully make it a preview for a comedy--more teasing and mischievous. That way, I can laugh at myself. Then it's easier to say "yes" to the new.

Isn't this also true in business? Our fears can make innovation so emotionally painful. When forced to change a process or introduce a new offering, I wonder if it's better to see it as a  creative fishing trip. The economy has really freaked people out--for good reason. But the blind fear keeps us clinging to things that really don't work any longer. In a workshop I gave recently, a gentleman said, "I realize the direct mail campaign isn't working, but I won't get fired for doing it." Fear keeps us from trying things that could work better.

For my part, I plan to focus on creating skills that put my imagination to better use. I want a new relationship with my fears. So that even if I feel them gnawing holes in my ambition, I don't necessarily believe in the visions they try to scare me with. 

The summer solstice is just behind us. We're halfway through 2010. What are your goals for the next half of the year? Any fishing trips planned?

Original art by Magic Marking


Amy Dean said...

I love how you lure me in with your breezy writing style then slowly and sweetly introduce the powerful concept of stepping outside of yourself to examine your fears. I'm hooked. Fear is the mind killer isn't? It's such a useless and unproductive emotion like jealousy. It tricks us into thinking we have the choice of not moving forward. Like jealous leaves us to believe that we can be someone other than ourselves. The thing about toxic emotions is that we can become them. Rather than saying I feel fearful at this moment but I'm going to barrel forward anyway, we become the fear and it consumes and paralyzes us. That's why stepping outside of it is such sage advice. When you can look at it, you're no longer it.

Patricia Martin said...

Thanks, Amy. How true. If you can see it, you're no longer "it."