I have become particularly retrospective lately. AJ’s blog post, interviewing business owners for our upcoming mini-series, seeing my kids get older, turning 35 recently…These things make you stop and think, make you question your choices.
I try not to live with a lot of regret. It’s a negative influence and doesn’t add any value. I do have some things I wish I had done differently.
I wish I would have learned to skateboard. I always loved watching people skate, but never stepped on a board. It may seem stupid to people, but the fear of being associated with “skaters” was real. In my school, the skaters were all the pot heads. It wasn’t like it is today. So, because I was afraid of people judging me, I missed out on an activity that I really enjoy. At age 33, I stepped onto a skateboard for the first time. I look like a goofball, wearing 57 different pads, but I don’t care anymore.
I wish I had lived somewhere else for my college experience. I have always played everything so safe. I branched out once and it bit me in the butt, so I never risked anything again. I stayed at home, crammed all my classes into 2 days, and worked the rest of the time. Rather than rushing to be an adult, I should have played a bit more. I should have treated college like a life experience and got the most of it. Even if I stayed in-state, I should have lived on or near by campus, like a college kid. With all of the scandals going on in the Church these days, a real focus for community has started to surface. I sense of knowing people and being known. This is so important. When I graduated, I didn’t have hardly any friends and I had a really hard time making friends. I should have not been so afraid of wasting time and realized the value of socializing.
I wish I had gone all in on starting a business. There was a point in time that I’ll call my community college time, where I was figuring myself out. I was someone who let others tell me what I was good at. I never thought it was okay for me to want to do something for me. I always had to do something to make others happy. So, I tinkered around a business that my friend was doing. I was in physically, but my heart was never all in. I always had a deep seeded fear of not having money. I was not able to quite my job to go all in. Fear held me back.
I think all of these things would have lent themselves to one another. If I had realized that doing an activity doesn’t mean I have to make the same choices as others, I would have developed the confidence to do things for me. The time spent socializing at college would have introduced me to new people who expanded my horizons, allowing me to learn more about myself. Knowing myself would have been the key to letting go of fear and starting a business.
I know that is a lot of “what if” logic there, but it is a little more than speculation. I have gone through this transition, just much later in life. Years 33 through 35 have been exactly what I described. I took the risk and learned to skateboard. I traveled and did things that have stretched me out of my comfort zone and I have learned more about myself than ever before. All of this allows me to pursue creating a business with passion and without fear. I still struggle self-doubt, but I have started developing the skills to overcome it. Now, when I interact with younger generations I tell them to just go do it. If you have the passion, go for it. You’re probably going to screw up and that’s okay. You want to screw up a lot, grind hard, when your young. That way, when you can settle into family life with a job that is satisfying, which will make you and family better.