This next book I’m working on is risky. Scary. I keep telling people that I don’t know if it’s the best idea I’ve had — or the worst. But still, I’m doing it, in spite of fears and reservations. In spite of my anxiety that it might not work. And maybe that’s the secret to doing anything important.
I meet lots of people who tell me they’re thinking about doing something risky and new. It might be starting a blog or leaping out into the realm of self-employment. Heck, it could even mean starting a family or making the move across the country or globe.
And always I hear the same question, that same anxious wonderment. Sometimes, it’s implicit, and other times the person comes out and says it. But it’s always there — the question, lingering and taunting.
“How do I know?”
You might be asking yourself this right now, in some form:
- “How do I know I’m supposed to get married?”
- “How do I know if I should start a speaking career?”
- “How do I know if I’m meant to go on that mission trip?”
We all experience these how-do-we-know moments every time we venture out into the unknown. And I believe that’s a good thing.
The truth is we don’t know. We don’t know whether we’re headed in the right direction or if this new idea will work — or totally flop. But not knowing was never a good enough reason to not act. (Go ahead and tweet that.) In fact, this is the perfect opportunity for faith, to put yourself out there and grow.
Clarity ain’t all it’s cracked up to be
A reporter once asked Mother Teresa what it was like to have absolute, total clarity in life, to which she responded:
I have never had clarity. What I have always had is trust.
When we don’t know, we avail ourselves to forces bigger than ourselves. We have to rely on God and other people and access something deep within ourselves that we didn’t know was there.
And guess what? It usually works out. One way or the other, we get to where we need to be. Not because we take all the right turns or make all the correct choices, but because we’re moving.
What to do (when you don’t know what to do)
So if you’re not sure you’re headed in the right direction, take heart; you’re in good company. Some of the most courageous endeavors in history started in security.
But don’t just wallow in what you don’t know; do something. And as you move, keep asking questions, paying attention to the answers that present themselves along the way. Sooner or later, you’ll figure it out.
Like so many times before, you’ll be just fine. I know it doesn’t feel that way right now, but it will — and sooner than you think. Until then, you’re just going to have to trust.
You know you’re headed in the right direction when you’re doing what so many people are afraid to do: moving forward. It’s not easy or safe, but it’s the only thing that gets you heading in a direction at all. Just don’t forget to take that first step.
That upcoming book that feels like a huge risk? Well, I just published an excerpt of it here: This Could be Real.
How do you know you’re headed in the right direction? Share in the comments.