First Try

Reflect for a moment on how many things you’ve done right on the first try. How many undertakings initially stirred fear in your heart until it came time to take action, and how easy they seemed once they were done.

Your fears of failure and of embarrasment are blown way out of proportion. Remember gratitude. Think of how may people you’ve already outdone.

Remember all your successes. All the things you have tried to do and that have paid off on the very first attempt.

Remember that first girl. How you approached her with confidence and directness. Her first impression of you, she later said, was that you were pretty ballsy to ask her to eat dinner with you. How much you wanted her and how you made it pay off by being fearless. And how she was the very first woman you ever approached cold.

Remember the others who came after her. All the other girls that winter. How many you approached, and how none of them ever blew you off directly or embarrassed you. Your ego got away unscathed. The worst they ever did was neglect to return your texts. Even failure wasn’t so bad. Recovery was automatic.

Remember above all else: you have never once failed because you were aggressive.

Think of your first grant panel visit this fall. How nervous you were, but how at they end they mistook you for the Executive Director. You, an ED! You came across as more knowledgeable and collected than you thought. And it never would have happened had you been to afraid to meet with them.

The pitch you made to FPA. Never before had you approached an employer to offer work. How effective the bullet-point list had been, and how professional the meeting with them had been.

Remember your interview with that reporter. You were terrified to be exaggerating your credentials, but the reporter bought the whole thing. You even had to hand up and call back because you were so nervous. It was awkward, sure, but point is that the pitch got his attention, and he ended up quoting me in his article. You lied to the press. First time success.

Remember how your informational interview with BD was a wild success, and remember how nervous you were before calling. You were grinding your teeth. But he was a very nice guy. What the hell were you afraid of?

How you asked Dr. P for his number. You was nervous, but he complied. Success.

How you asked Martoff for advice and received a long and thoughtful response. Success.

How you booked informational interviews with 3 choir members, all happy to help. Success, success, success.

These are all tallies on the wall. Arrows in some target far downrange. They are accomplishments and memories that are forever yours; nothing can take them away now. They are your finents moments of strength and fearlessness. You must constantly remain aware of them, of your own power and potential, because unless you remember your history it will be impossible to build upon it.

Care less and less about approval from the fools in the world. Never be afraid to shoot another arrow, to try to put another tally on the wall.

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