But I didn’t know any of that yet. All I knew is that I had been asked to do something that I only ever dreamed of, and I had to say yes. Even though I knew I wanted to say yes, I still had doubts. I asked my friends and family what they thought about being invited to do something you’ve only dreamt of, but fearing the risk, that risk being public humiliation if you fail. Not one person told me to give up the opportunity. Every single person said that I had to do it, whatever it was. I hadn’t admitted to them what the thing was that I both wanted and feared.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I made up my mind to do it and practiced and everything fell into place. I’ve written about it before. I had to work for it. I had to work to condition my shoulder to handle the resistance of the flag. I had to condition my mind to think that I could succeed rather than worrying about failing. But I did do the work. And I did find a horse to ride and we carried that gorgeous red white and blue flag around that arena that I’d been going to since I was a 4h-er running in the calf scramble.
I had some hiccups, my horse got a ball of dirt in her hoof and was off in our trot, then we had a little trip and picked up the wrong lead. I curse the damn flag pole for that, as I couldn’t get my right spur into her side enough. I curse myself for not wearing a longer spur on my right boot. And I didn’t always have that flag perfectly upright.
For a while, I really picked on those things. I felt bad that I hadn’t done a better job. And then I realized, there is not one person in those stands who could judge me. I got on a horse and rode around in front of 3000 people and old glory didn’t touch the ground and my family got to watch me live out my dream. It wasn’t perfect, as things never are when you’ve never done them before. But I did it.
How timely then that the reminder of me preparing to carry that flag should come up now, in the midst of winding down on editing my book and making preparations to send query letters to agents. Will I make some mistakes? Without a doubt. Is my book perfect? I’d love to think so, but the reality is, probably not. But are either of those things going to stop me? They never have before, so I figure, why start now?
I wrote a book. I wrote out over 83 thousand words in a cohesive manner that a few people of found enjoyable (the few who have read it). That in and of itself is an accomplishment. I want to see it get to a wide audience, to get wide distribution, but whatever the outcome, I think I can be happy with what I’ve done. I don’t believe there’s anyone who could say I’ve half-assed it, that I didn’t give it my all, didn’t try my best. And this, after all, the only thing we can do, is to try our best.
Whatever big-ass, scary, intimidating dream your dreaming, keep dreaming it. Do the work. Believe in the dream. Please don’t let your own doubts or fear get in the way of something wonderful. Without dreamers, you wouldn’t even be reading these words on your smartphone, on this blog, on the weird and invisible thing called the internet.
Dreamers never stop trying. And neither should you.
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