I love January. It’s the one time of year when everyone I know is collectively talking about goals in anticipation of what the next year will hold. At lunch last week, our friend Amanda asked everyone at the table, “If you had one word that you would want 2015 to embody, what would it be and why?”
My mind started reeling through everything I could possibly share and all I could come up with was:
(Confession. My type-A personality really wanted something more profound that would require my friends to do a quick search of dictionary.com, but I digress.)
That was it: start.
Like many of you, I spent the first few days of the year writing my goals and dreams for 2015. Some of them will push me far outside of my comfort zone. A few scare the absolute crap out of me. But the thought that they are actually possible keeps me up at night. My closest friends would tell you that I literally come alive when I talk about them. A few I’ve carried over from last year.
So why haven’t I started some of these before?
Fear of the unknown. Fear that it will fail. Fear of what people will think. Fear that I won’t be enough.
But fear is a liar.
And if there is anything I’ve learned over the last several years in freelance, it’s that when I operate out of fear and comparison, I don’t move forward. If I don’t step out in faith and get out of my comfort zone to use the gifts and talents I’ve been given to help someone else, make the first call, send the first email, or just take that first step, nothing will happen.
Friday morning, I was sitting at a coffee shop making the final edit to this blog post when I looked up to see Louisa Wendorff, Devin Dawson and videographer Blythe Thomas sitting at the table across from me. You’ve probably heard of them over the last several weeks.
Less than a month ago, they released a mash-up of Blank Space | Style from Taylor Swift’s 1989 that (as of this morning) has over 11 million views and been covered by nearly every major media publication in the U.S. after Taylor posted that she was “obsessed” with it on December 27.
I stopped by (may have had a fangirl moment) to tell them how much I loved the song and video. Fresh off an appearance on Nashville’s Lightning 100 that morning, their joy, excitement and thankfulness was infectious.
All students at Belmont University, Louisa and Devin came up with the idea for the mashup over Thanksgiving. Three days before leaving for the Christmas holiday break, they finished the song and recorded it the next day with fellow student, engineer and Devin’s twin brother Jacob Durrett. They were working on the recording until 3:00 a.m. Blythe finished the video treatment and graduated from Belmont that same night. Louisa was scheduled to fly home the following morning but pushed her flight back so they could shoot the video before leaving town.
They told me that they’ve been collaborating and posting mashups on YouTube together for over a year. More than likely, just their friends and family were paying attention at first. There were probably days when they got frustrated-but they kept going. They believed in themselves, each other, the gifts they’d been given and kept creating.
And now their small steps of faith (and a tweet from Taylor Swift) have opened up more doors then they ever imagined possible.
So I have to wonder-what if we became insanely courageous? What if we let go of fear and comparison and used our gifts and talents to help or encourage someone else? What if, in faith, we stepped out of our comfort zone toward the dream or goal we can’t stop thinking about?
It may not turn into millions of views or endorsements from celebrities. There will be days when we feel unstoppable and others when we want to quit. There may be a point when the goal we envisioned needs to go in a different direction and that’s okay.
But we have to start somewhere. And when the going gets tough, we have to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and keep going. Even if you fell down yesterday or five minutes ago, this moment is a chance to step out in faith and start fresh.