Every now and then, a person finds themselves on the edge of something huge. And because they’re not stupid or short-sighted they understand that once they cross that line – there is no going back. It’s like opening a can of worms (but when it’s a good thing, you can consider them to be gummy worms) and once they get started they won’t be able to so easily stop, or even perhaps pause.
That’s where I’ve found myself right now.
One month ago, I had an idea. It came to me in a fit of stress/anxiety/frustration/anger that I couldn’t direct anywhere. Of course, it had to do with insurance and medical stuff because of my eight-plus chronic conditions, each one is a full-time job. I have eight-plus full-time jobs before we get to actual work or things I like to do. And now I’m talking about taking on another, huge full-time job because of this idea and still I’m more excited than anything else.
The idea was for a nonprofit I am going to start, which is aimed at people with disabilities. There is nothing like it out there right now, and the need is so great, it’s overwhelming. I keep thinking, “We need this,” “There’s a need for this,” and I keep thinking about the potential good it could do from helping people deal with insurance BS to obtaining reasonable accommodations to accessibility, community engagement programs and sensitivity training etc.
But at the same time, I feel nervous. Like, I want to still have a life. I want to write, work on my book; I want to be able to go out, take a vacation, focus on starting a family and all of these things seem counter to what I’m about to undertake. Like, if I take this on, then all of those other things might be put on hold, at least a little.
Part of me hopes I’m just psyching myself out, because I don’t want to put any of those things on hold, but I can’t let this idea go either. And I’ve already written a business plan, found the other Board members (and they’ve signed on), bought a domain and more. These are the actions I’ve taken, the research, both on how to start a nonprofit, write a business plan, roles, requirements, obtaining 501(c)(3) status, legalities, liabilities, market, etc. are all a given. I’ve been in full-research mode since the day I first cooked this idea up.
I’m getting ready to file the papers, and yet I know once I do this, it becomes that much more real. I can’t change my mind. I can’t push it aside and I have to be ready for the space it will take up in my life.
I’m… Excited. Anxious. Hesitant. Pumped. Stressed. Tried. Energized. Ready. Not Possibly Ready. As Ready As I’ll Ever Be.
So that has to be enough. I’m still committed. I still think this organization is important, and needs to exist. I still feel excited to be a part of change and as I’ve said, “I feel more like myself,” when I’m working on it. These answers have to be enough. I’ll find a way to make time, balance, still do the other things that are just as important, but I can’t let fear or anxiety keep me from doing something I feel I was meant to do. And that’s how I feel. It’s not so much something I want to do as it is something I feel compelled to do. It’s something that feels inherently right, not just putting it out there in the world, but right with myself. You know how when you are pretending to be someone else, doing something that you don’t want to do, going along with something you hate, trying to put on some kind of front for whatever reason when it isn’t honest or authentic, even if it’s just dishonest in that moment? It’s work, it’s draining. It’s emotional labor.
This feels like the opposite of that, which is how I know it’s right. Even though it will be a great amount of work and even though it may be all-consuming, it never feels like the amount of work that it should because you’re not moving against the current, you’re letting it carry you away. I’m not working against something as much as I feel I’m embracing one of my deeper truths and real life purpose. And so it’s worth it, right? That’s my answer?
I’m taking it to be. I feel like there are a few reasons to be nervous or to not pursue this, to walk away from the edge but even a single reason to push on and cross that line is greater than all of the reasons not to put together. I don’t know how I’ll make it work and fit it into my life, I just know that I need to, and I will. Because I think about the need out there. I think about what I’m proposing and I feel like there is no one else better suited. But also, I feel like I’m being true to myself. I’ve finally found a way to pursue my purpose in a way that won’t kill me, or even cause me great emotional strain. And on top of that, I’ve matched it with my “brand” (oh, how I used to hate that word, but it’s honest, this is my brand).
So, I have to push forward. I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I don’t know how everything will work out or if I’m taking on too much. But I know that I have to find out. I have to try. Because the cost of not trying is much greater than that of anything else.
Am I ready for this? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m about to dive in anyway, and for once I feel like I’ll be able to navigate the waters ahead, swimming rather than drowning.
So, I guess, here I go…