The Fear that Stopped Me...Until Today
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Being an adult and being too afraid to do something at the same time? We tell our students they shouldn't be afraid of mistakes and failure because those mistakes and failures lead to more learning and growth. But, as an adult, don't so many of us let fear stop us every day? Or maybe it is just me...but in case anyone reading this may relate to the feeling, I decided to share.
Famous Last Words: "But what will people think?"
I will be honest, I am guilty of this thought stopping me from doing many things. Starting this website and blog is probably the biggest example of that. As I wrote a new post, that voice of doubt in the back of my head would say:
"What makes my voice worth reading?"
"What will people think? What will my coworkers think"*
"I haven't been a teacher long enough to give good advice"
"These boxes are on my last nerves, I don't know what any of these acronyms stand for, and if I have to start over one more time I am throwing my laptop through the window"
"What if I mess up my commas and people realize how much I still struggle with those bad boys?"
"Laptop I was kidding I would never throw you through a window please keep working"**
"How the heck do I make this thing look presentable? Is it painstakingly obvious I only like using blues and minty greens? Are those the right colors? What are the right colors? People really think ed majors color for four years meanwhile I can't pick a color for dear life."
"What if my website fails and it is just a waste of my already limited time, money"
But, then a different voice started speaking to me. And no, I do not mean another voice in my head, I mean a real physical voice coming from my sister (oh yeah Sammi-so-so this one is for you).
From the Mind and Mouth of my Sister
We weren't even talking about the idea of me starting a teacher website, in fact, she hadn't even heard of TPT until I explained it this past weekend. I was sharing my frustration with people around me being unkind. Now, Sammi has several strengths, but sensitivity is not one of them and that is exactly why I love talking to her. She told me bluntly (and I paraphrase for the sake of not using any explicit language on the blog),
I need to stop caring what people think or say, and it is their problem, not mine.
I was so frustrated that she couldn't understand how my feelings were hurt or why it bothered me. But then I really thought about it, and as usual, she was right. If people are unkind, that is their negativity, not mine.
Applying the Sammi Logic to my Website
I thought about her advice a lot that night and into the next day. I thought about it as my mind wandered to my website I had slowly been working on this summer. I started writing, editing, adding photos, adjusting the layout, and doing all things leading towards publishing the website. All those nagging negative questions were still in my mind, but I also knew if I shared any of these doubts with my sister she would tell me to shut up...so I told my fear to shut up and kept working. Then, all of a sudden, I had a website. I did the checklist with SEO and Google Analytics, mobile and desktop versions ready, it looks as good as I can possibly make it, it is time to share.
But then the voices came rushing back. I stalled. I looked for other things to fix. I kept staring. It felt like that moment you are about to jump in the water even though the water is freezing and it's a pretty steep jump. And I did it, I shared the published website, I jumped.***
What About all that Fear?
I am still afraid and have doubts; I am just going for it anyways. And all those thoughts in my head?
If you do not enjoy this website, don't read it.
If you can't use my products on TPT, don't buy them.
If you notice a typo, tell me and I will fix it.
If you want to help me improve the appearance of my website, I would LOVE the help!
If it fails, I will survive. The best part of this being a teacher life(style) website/blog? I didn't have to quit my day job that I just so happen to love.
What About You, the Reader?
Hi friend! I am so very appreciative that you read this post and hope it motivates you to go for whatever you're afraid of. Maybe it is starting a website for yourself, or going for an advanced degree, or your National Boards (I am also doing that this year so stay tuned for updates on that journey), or something unrelated to education altogether. Regardless of what it is, I think you should go for it.
Lauren Mary Medlin
*When I say coworkers I do not mean my team, they are the most supportive group of people I could ever ask to work with
**Yes I talk to inanimate electronics in hopes they work for me, this includes computers, smartboards, and most of all, copy machines...
**Jump was purely metaphorical. I hate heights, in that actual scenario of jumping off a cliff into a body of water, I am the friend happily taking pictures. This is not another being afraid scenario, it is being true to myself, a person who would rather ride a bull than being forced off something high in the air.