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The Retirement Rise 5.22.2023
Doing Things That Scare Us
A Thought on Retire on Purpose
When was the last time you did something that scared you?
Here’s mine. In an earlier life, I gigged regularly as a singer-songwriter. I even recorded two albums! But life snuck up on me -kids, work, responsibilities, you know the drill - and I stopped playing shows.
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Recently, I joined a band, The Stonearch Rivals, and we’ve played three shows since March. I was terrified to play live again for the first time, and I’m still terrified every time I walk up on stage. But it’s been the best part of 2023 so far.
What’s yours? When was the last time you did something that scared you?
Or, better yet, is there something that you have been avoiding because of perceived difficulties or resistance to change?
The Wall Street Journal recently published an excellent article titled Your Next Big Move Should Scare You.
One woman was scared to go all in on her passion -cupcakes. She’s now the CEO of a successful baking and cookbook company. Another couldn’t imagine dealing with the hardships of motherhood. She’s grateful she did, she told the reporter while her 1-year-old napped. Danny, an out-of-shape software engineer, was nervous about wearing the tight shirt for his first martial arts class. He barely finished the class. Now, he competes (still scared, mind you).
From the article:
It’s human to overcomplicate the moments that matter, and that’s OK, says Oded Netzer, a Columbia Business School professor who studies the use of data in decision-making. Research from Netzer and co-authors finds that, when faced with a clear but important choice, we start weighing factors that don’t really matter to us, such as the layout of a potential new office or lunch options at the school your kid would attend if you moved. Doing that makes the decision harder for ourselves, but it matches the gravity of the situation.
Spiraling into our fear, he says, ultimately makes us more confident in our call because we’ve done our due diligence instead of blindly trusting our intuition.
In other words, feeling what you are feeling is perfectly normal. Retiring early and starting a consultancy is a big deal. Running a marathon takes serious effort. A sabbatical to Europe will need some careful planning.
The key is to learn that the fear isn’t bad. It may just be signaling the importance of the decision. More, sometimes, we are just as scared of success as failure.
Often, the fear cloaking our big decisions is “an anxiety toward your dream life,” [Luana] Marques says.
I’m glad I pushed through. I blew a solo the other night and forgot part of a verse in a Beatles tune.
The world didn’t end. No one noticed. I kept playing.
What about you?