Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bravery or desperation?

I'd never be fulfilling my dream of writing a book had I not lost everything.

My husband, Greg, and I are slowly climbing out of the massive crater we tumbled into as the financial industry imploded in 2008.  Today, Greg has two independent businesses, and he's writing a book.  (Yes, he has a publisher and I don't.  That's another nasty story).  I've started my own Pilates business, and I work as an independent contractor.  I'm writing a book about our experiences.

People tell me we are brave. They say they wouldn't know where to start had they been faced with such great obstacles.  I smile a tender, sad smile inside when I hear such comments.

We were not brave.  We were desperate.  We lost a job, a home, and the bulk of our savings account.  A 2.5 year job search slowly revealed the ugly truth: Greg might never be hired again.  There was only one thing to do: become our own employers.

And so I've come to believe that desperation spurs innovation.  When there is nothing to lose, you can allow yourself to conceive the dream of making your own business.  You can dig deep into your soul, coaxing your childhood hopes and aspirations to the surface.  You can shed worry and anxiety of consequences.  You can entertain previously unfathomable ideas.

As I pour over the past four years, trying to hang meaning onto crisis, I see the unexpected virtues of instability.  For us, the fall encouraged risk taking that never would have occurred otherwise.  It forced us to ask what we wanted from life, and it forced us to create our own, meaningful jobs.  It was refreshing and deeply satisfying.

Brave is the person who can risk everything when having everything.

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