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Friday, August 1, 2014

Fear comes in many different forms

Ok, this post is a bit, well, unusual.  However, if it struck me it might also hit someone else out there in the same way.  Besides, I tend to believe that if I write it down then it has to happen…

This past week I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, The Genealogy Professional Podcast hosted by Marian Pierre-Louis.  Yes, I tend to binge listen to podcasts, that’s just the way the cards fall in my life at times.  Needless to say I found myself driving through the wilds of Virginia this week catching up on the last couple months of the show.

If you have not listened to this podcast I highly recommend it.  Even if you are not a professional genealogist, it is still really good information and gives you great ideas, insights, and things to think about concerning the business side in field of genealogy.  Besides, everyone has a great story to tell, and these professional have some amazing ones! 

To show you how far behind in my listening I was, the first one up was episode 29 with Lisa Louise Cooke from Genealogy Gems which aired June 16th. Anyway… Lisa said something that had me scratching my head and doing some soul searching.  This happens occasionally, but honestly the topic was relevant to how I was feeling at the time so it really clicked.

Marian does a “lightening round” at the end of the show where she asks some fast passed questions and expects equally fast answers.  One of the staple questions asks simply what can listeners do in the next 24 hours to help them transition into a genealogy career.  There are always good pieces of advice given here, everyone has a unique perspective, but for some reason Lisa’s answer struck me like a 2x4 up side of the head.

It was simple.  START! She went on to say that “You have to take action” and “doing nothing is doing something, it’s failing.  It’s ensuring that you are going to fail.”  Wow, well that was powerful.  It also made me want to beat my head against the steering wheel.  Cue 2x4.

You see I can be a very fearful and scared person when it comes to my future.  I am full of anxiety, what ifs, and other detrimental thoughts that can paralyze me in my tracks.  Sometimes I will completely talk myself out of doing something before it even has a chance because of those “what if” thoughts.  Thinking about what she said made me look closer at myself over the next few days. 

It struck me like a ton of bricks. What if it is not a fear of failure but a fear of success that is holding me back and causing the problems with where I want to go and what I am doing?  Failing is easy, it is just letting entropy take over and not doing follow through.  Success is much, much harder.  You have to work at it.

With success you have more responsibilities to say the least.  It brings deadlines, goals, those next steps to take you to the next level, and so on.  Then there are the other factors that I don’t think a lot of people really think about.

In this business it is not all about you, the genealogist.  It can quickly become about your brand, your influence, your clients, your followers, and so much more.  As a perfectionist, a bit of a control freak, and someone who dwells on the details success if a very daunting and frightening prospect.  Do I have the time, energy, or drive to even do that?  Plus at any moment I could run into the cold wall of rejection and failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I am intimately familiar with rejection and failure.   The stack of rejections from conferences or ideas that weren’t “quite what we are looking for” is quite substantial.  However, is that failure?  I thought it was at first.  I mean really, look at all those people who don’t want me or my ideas.  That’s failure right? But it’s not!  Those are really successes because I put myself out there.  I keep putting myself out there too, and for an entrepreneur and budding business owner that is key.  I have to keep putting myself, and my brand, out there. 

The key is to pick yourself back up off the ground by your boot straps and keep on trucking.

Nothing happens overnight and it is going to take months if not years to carve out my little niche in the genealogy world, but by golly I am going to celebrate every little victory.  I am not going to ensure my failure by inaction.  You are right Lisa, you just have to start.

August is going to be a big month.  Hope you will stick around to see what happens.  Big plans, big ideas, and swallowing that fear are all forecasted… 


  1. Thank you! This was an inspiring post! I feel I am at a similar point in my life. Wow, I can't wait to see what you do next - I'm with you and hopefully your moving forward and overcoming will inspire me to get off my butt and move forward as well! Bless you!

  2. Glad my 2x4 could help. I've used it on myself many times. Have a glorious time embracing, and executing, your future!