Fulfilling Your Dreams
Giving Yourself Permission
I recently completed a book that I had been working on for more than twenty years. Twenty years! Can you believe that?
Well, in all honesty, that wasn’t really the case. I’d been working on the theories mentioned in the book, which was a book on ethics. I’d been figuring out what I wanted to put in the book but I had never actually started it.
Oh, I wanted to. There were plenty of times. But each and every time, it came down to, “You’re going to do what? You? What makes you think you can do that? Nobody is going to buy that book. You’re going to bomb!” Every time, all I could think about was what a failure I would be and that would stop me in my tracks.
Then, I wrote a book called Climbing Maya (which you may have seen). It was my first book on philosophy and it gave me the confidence to actually begin my work on ethics. I sat down with an assortment of research texts, stacked around me like bricks to a house, and spent three years checking and re-checking, assembling and re-assembling, and generally putting all of my research together.
But start the book? Really? Actually start the book? I couldn’t do that. I was so sure I’d fail. It just wasn’t worth it.
It’s easy to see all the different ways we might fail. The bigger your dream is the more unlikely success becomes and the easier it is to see all the ways you might come up short. The thing I kept telling myself was, “Who are you to write a book on philosophy, on ethics? You’re not a professor. You’re not a scholar. You’re just a guy with an idea. Nobody’s interested.”
But then, Climbing Maya got published. And people expressed interest. And it occurred to me that, while I might be a very small fish in a very large pond, I am in that pond. This was it! This was the dream! And it wasn’t some timid book that just anyone could have written that made it happen. It was a book that explained success in a way nobody had ever done before! It was bold and audacious and if I was going to follow that up, I’d need something even more bold and even more audacious.
What it came down to was the fact that I was going to have to finally write my book on ethics. And that might fail. It might fail utterly. It might turn out laughable. It might be mocked. Worse still, it might be completely ignored.
I realized I had to give myself permission. Permission to take the next step. Permission to do something that might be bold and that might be stupid. I had to give myself permission to fail.
And if that wasn’t enough, I realized there was still more to it. Not only did I need to give myself permission to fail, I needed to set my course for the best failure possible. If I was going to win big, I’d have to allow myself to fail in the same fashion. To fail gloriously! I had to sever all of my restraints, all of my negativity, and just do what I had set out to do.
Every dream requires this kind of permission. You’ve got to let yourself go out there and fail the best way you know how. You have to say, “This is important. It’s worth failing. It’s worth failing big because it’s important. You are worthy of this and it is worthy of you.” If you fail, it’s okay. You’re prepared yourself for it. There’s no other way you’re going to succeed.”
Failure will come to you no matter what you do in life. Failure is a part of life. If you’re going to fail anyway, at least give yourself permission to do it big. Better a grand failure than a meager victory.
And so, I wrote my book on ethics, which in the end took about six months… after nearly twenty years of preparation. The ending to this particular story, as amazing as it might seem, is that as I was writing this, my agent sent me a contract to represent Dynamic Pluralism. Can you believe that?
About the Author
You can find out more about Ken La Salle at www.kenlasalle.com. Climbing Maya, An Exploration Into Success by Ken La Salle is now available from all major e-tailers by Solstice Publishing You can also find The Worth of Dreams/The Value of Dreamers, a compilation of Ken La Salle’s first year with Recovering the Self with plenty of bonus content, available as an e-book from all major e-tailers and coming soon as an audio book.