“That's all any of us are: amateurs. We don't live long enough to be anything else.” - Charlie Chaplin
Part of me knows this.
There will always be more to learn. I will never reach ultimate mastery of anything.
So why is that so hard to admit?
If you're anything like me, the fear of appearing incompetant or in some other way deficient can be a strong deterrent from sharing your work.
I recently read an encouraging book by Austin Kleon called Show your Work (paid link)
In the book, he quotes Colin Marshall who said
"Compulsive avoidance of embarrassment is a form of suicide."
"If you spend your life avoiding vulnerability, you and your work will never truly connect with other people.”
He encourages people to put their imperfect work out there.
Some part of me thinks that I can somehow hide my flaws by keeping my work to myself. If I don't publish anything or share my thoughts, no one can poke holes in my thinking or point out my errors.
If I don't show my weaknesses then it's conceivable that maybe I don't have any, right?
Who am I kidding?
I don't expect others to be perfect. Why do I think they expect that of me?
I expect others to be real. I expect them to learn and grow... and try!
And from now on, that's what I'm expecting of myself.
That's part of why I started writing.
If I can come out from behind whatever pretense I've unintentionally built up over the past 4 decades then maybe I can help a few people along the way.
I'm starting to realize that by keeping myself "safe" from criticism I have dramatically limited my ability to impact and help others.
If I'm struggling through something or have experienced a breakthrough or learned a life lesson, why would I bury that under a rock?
So I'm taking it one day at a time.
When I started the year, I decided to be more transparent about my life; the good, the bad, the struggles, and the weaknesses.
I started sharing.
And wouldn't you know it, a few days after I stood up this site I had the opportunity to publicly share a rather humbling experience.
I didn't think twice about it.
I expected to ease into this whole vulnerability thing a bit more gradually than that but you don't get to decide these things. Life plays out the way it plays out.
And the struggle continues...
Yesterday was the first day in the past month that I felt like myself.
I'm working through it.
I don't have it all figured out.
But I'm asking the questions. I'm learning. I'm growing.
And God knows I'm trying....