Stop Building Unnecessary Safety Nets

At my college orientation, I switched my major from communications to business in a change of heart that I thought would set me up for more success in my future than writing would. I figured I would be a more well-rounded future employee with a business degree. Knowing a little bit about everything was better than knowing a lot about something to my teenage self. So off to the business school I went with no real vision or mission for my career unknowingly building a safety net for myself that would only get in the way of the good stuff for years to come.

I couldn’t name my hesitation at 18 years old. Now, I know my safety nets were built out of self-doubt and fear.

Self-doubt and fear are like a dangerous drug mix for me. Like the uppers and downers Daisy describes in Daisy Jones & The Six, I have the fear to motivate me to do incredible work and the self-doubt to keep me from sharing it with anyone.

We need safety nets to protect us when we make mistakes. We need security to give us the confidence to become great. But what happens when the safety nets we build are only saving us from success?

But what happens when the safety nets we build are only saving us from success?

In the time I’ve been a small business owner, I’ve taken the test to become a Rev transcriptionist three times. I’ve submitted proposals to take on underpaid freelance gigs on Upwork. And I’ve brainstormed a dozen ways to make extra income that have nothing to do with writing. (I could bake birthday cakes. I could walk dogs. I could clean houses). It’s only been recently that I realized all that time and energy were only taking away from doing the thing I want to do professionally. And I bet you can guess what the two motivating factors were in those attempts at security.

So here’s my charge to myself (and you if you need it). . .let’s stop living scared. Let’s stop building safety nets to save us from ourselves. Let’s be bold in our professions and believe in ourselves. I’m cheering you on this week.

P.S. I may have switched my college major and continued on to earn an MBA, but my career has largely been built on communications and writing. A tip from my very wise and very patient counselor: “You’ve always known who you are. You need to trust her a little bit more.”

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