I received this sign as a gift from my daughter years ago and it's always found a place on display where I can see it nearly every day. While meant as a sweet offer of encouragement to take necessary risks and live my best life, if earnestly considered the question could feel quite daunting. What would YOU do?
Perhaps the answer comes as naturally to you as taking a deep breath of fresh air. Or if you’re like me, it may feel like a ginormous question that weighs heavy with too many countless possibilities. Maybe if it were broken down into sub-topics, time-frames, or even attached to a simplified menu of options, I’d know where to begin. As it is, the options are limitless.
So, I haven't answered it yet. And if I haven't answered it yet, than I surely cannot attempt it, because IT has not been defined. Thus, if I cannot attempt it, then I cannot fail at it. Here is where the pause can quickly morph into paralysis. If one were to truly answer that question, than they have now named it. They’ve given words to it, even given power to whatever that answer may be.
For example, if I were to proclaim, “If I knew I could not fail, I would go parachuting,” that challenge is now hanging out there in the great unknown. It has been brought to life. I can no longer pretend or allow this challenge to only exist in the depths of my subconscious. So it's safer to just not answer, and yet repeating in my head are Rush's lyrics from their 1980 release of Freewill. “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
True, I am placing deep meaning on a seemingly simple question. Yet, there must be an unresolved reason why I still have that sign placed where I see it regularly. As Les Brown said,
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Too often the fear of failure guides so many of our decisions, that even answering such a simple question can feel like yet another opportunity to not do it right. But then the question becomes, “who’s version of right?”
What would I attempt if I knew I could not fail? I would literally just attempt to not be afraid of failure! Ah, to come full circle and recognize that my truest answer is this…if I weren’t afraid to fail, I would start by having the courage to actually answer that ginormous question. And in doing so securing the knowledge that it is not even possible to give a failing answer, because the right answer for me is whatever I determine it to be.
So, what would YOU do?