Follow Through or Fall Through?




Remember that time, maybe not so long ago, when you felt really good about a brilliant idea you had, got yourself all hyped up, envisioned it fully, thought about it a bit more, got super excited at the prospect of it becoming reality, discussed it with your friends and family, maybe sat down to design a logo, maybe drafted a short business plan, Googled the competition, kept adding great layers to the idea, felt butterflies in your stomach whenever you spoke about it and the adrenaline flowing as you pictured how big of a success it might all be one day, needed to catch your breath whenever you described it to others… and finally realised how much work it would all take, and gradually DECIDED and BELIEVED that you weren’t cut out for it, that you couldn’t possibly be worthy of such a dream, that you didn’t have the right experience, persuaded yourself that it wasn’t such a great idea after all, that it was just too damn risky… and let it just slip away?

Yeah. That hurts. I know, because I’ve experienced this dozens of times. It truly sucks. But here’s the weirdest thing of all – regardless of the unwavering support and encouragement I received from my family and friends – it was I who let MYSELF down. The projects didn’t fall through – it was me who fell through. Time and time again. Why? Because I allowed it. Hell, I used to trick myself into believing it was because the ideas didn’t in fact hold that much value in the end, that they weren’t that unique, that I’d jumped the gun and been unrealistic, over-excited, premature… I found any excuse to avoid facing the fact that yet again, I had allowed the buzz to become one big fuzz, and hadn’t given myself permission to follow through.

I wonder now, out of all those ideas I was once so riled up about, how many would have been successful? If I had pursued them with continued enthusiasm, curiosity, consistent hard work and passion, which of them would have taken off and/or paid off? I now know that they would ALL have had a 100% success rate. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, probably not in the way you’re probably thinking of (you might be thinking, like I sometimes do, that ideas are only successful when they produce a financial return, right? When start-ups become fully operational and profitable companies, yes?).

BWAAAAAAAAHHHHPPPP! (Buzzer sound – come on now, play along).

I guarantee they would have been successful through the simple fact that they would ALL most likely have failed. Wait, what? Yes, failed. Failed to produce a single penny or produced any significant visible result, but succeeded in teaching me a lesson. Succeeded in the form of providing incredibly unique and valuable experiences. Argh… the WASTE. I actually denied myself that gift. All because I allowed myself to buy into the fear, the anxiety, the imposter syndrome, the pain and the embarrassment of failure.

I’ve become much more self-aware in the last year or two. Because of this, I’m able to think of challenges differently. They are not tests, they are not designed to bring us down or to make us fall through. THEY ARE DESIGNED FOR US TO FOLLOW THROUGH. To build the next version of us, to prepare us for the next challenge.

The older I become, the less risk averse I seem to be towards my ideas. I suppose that life experience come into play, that life shortens by the day and that wisdom grows by the years. The saying “If not me, who? And if not now, when?”, comes to mind (thanks for reminding me of this one Vanessa, my trusted work colleague).

During the pandemic lockdowns, between April 2020 and mid 2021, I began to train very hard most days of the week. Then I thought that maybe I’d record some of these workouts and post them up on YouTube, for others to benefit from. This became a regular endeavour. I spent a lot of hours planning, recording, editing and publishing these videos. I’d be happy if even one person took notice. I kept this up for a while, almost a year. My audience never grew much, but I enjoyed and felt proud of the process. I then found a segue into short motivational videos, which I was passionate about and kept it up for another year. Then I took a break as Covid eased up, I got a new shiny executive job which required my full attention, moved house, travelled for work regularly… I needed time to adjust and build a new routine. Then my dad died, and that threw me for a loop… I feel that was fair enough. It’s been 5 months since that tragic day, but I’m still here. I’ve resumed my activities with a fresh perspective: I’m blogging weekly, I’m working on my coaching proposal, I’m creating a group coaching program at work, I’m back to 5 workouts a week, my 5am wake ups… I’m being incredibly intentional about what I’m pouring my blood, sweat and tears into. I have no idea what the future will bring, but I know it will be good. I now know, having given up so many times before, that I must continue. Not all my plans will come to fruition, I know that. I won’t be successful (in the traditional sense) every time, but that’s OK. I fail at things most days, and I will for many more days to come. But through all of this, I AM FOLLOWING THROUGH. I’m done with letting my plans fall through. Every experience I come by and every project I work on, inspire me for the next. Just this morning, I went back and watched some of those workouts I recorded a while ago. I revisited some of those motivational videos I shared on social media. I’d forgotten how much work went into these, I’d forgotten how fit I was back then, I’d forgotten how passionate I was making these… Watching them now, I can sense the buzz I was feeling back then, and in fact, the buzz was revived. I didn’t know it at the time, but even though I’ve not created this kind of content in a while, they served me to become what and who I am today. They are projects that helped create the me of today. They inspired me for this post, and have planted a new seed for me to think about over the next few weeks, perhaps a new iteration of what they were back then, but now in a way that fits in with what I’m working towards. Who knows, I’ll give it a shot…

The point is, had I given up on those projects back then and not seen them through, I’d have missed out on that entire experience and I might not be here, writing this today. I believe the buzzes we get from great ideas are short lasting, yet they fuel us with the purpose and busyness we need to remain consistent and see them through. It’s important to realise that just like every other emotion, a buzz will fade out. Most of the time, it fizzles when we take note of the amount of work that lies ahead, and are faced with the decision to either follow through or fall through. The buzz cannot be what holds us accountable to our dreams, since it’s not everlasting. The purpose the buzz has instilled is what we need to hang on to, and then push ourselves to remain busy to see our ideas and dreams take shape, even if they themselves fail to produce the desired results. It is at this crossroads that I used to let myself down, allowing myself to believe that the sudden absence of that once fiery buzz meant it wasn’t meant to be… Maybe you can relate.

I’m pretty sure you can think of something inspiring you did at some point in your life – it could have been last week or a decade ago. Instead of being nostalgic and wondering where those ‘golden years’ have now gone, I’m certain there’s a way that this memory can inspire you to elevate yourself today. I guarantee there’s a way you can repurpose that buzz you once felt, and revive it in a way that is ecological with the ‘you’ of today. The question is, will you follow through?

The bigger picture is constantly being sketched. Yeah – there are paint spills, and mistakes, and holes in the canvas. Yes, we may have mixed up the wrong colours, used the wrong tools, snapped a few pencils and paintbrushes. Yes, we may find ourselves frustrated at times and want to throw the canvas in the trash and start fresh. Yes, we may have thrown it against the wall a few times, cried about it, laughed at ourselves, asked for help, copied what someone else was doing… Yes, it won’t ever be perfect. BUT THAT IS THE DAMN POINT. Personally, there is no way in hell that I will ever rid myself of this canvas, because this canvas is my life. And there ain’t nothing wrong with it. Thankfully, it’s a very large canvas, and it lends itself well to corrections and cover-ups. I’m grateful for this canvas, and I know it will be filled with more colours, just as I know I won’t always manage to colour within the lines and that I’ll mess it all up a few more times… I also know that over time, it will improve. It will become prettier, more meaningful, it will tell a better story. It is my canvas. And you have your own. We each have our own to produce, and they are all beautiful in their own way. We are all creators of this global art movement; life-ism (yep, just made that up right now… I think it works?).  

So, going back to those ideas you have that light up a fire in you and make you feel invincible for a while (until you decide to railroad yourself) – do yourself a favour and see those flames through. See what that fire becomes. Perhaps it will flicker out, or it might grow into a ‘holy-shit-this-is-amazing-and-I-never-knew-I-could-be-this-awesome’ blaze of a fire. You just don’t know, but you sure as hell won’t find out if you don’t let it burn. And remember, if the fire does die out, at the very least you’ll know how to light it up better next time. (Holy Moly, what is up with me and metaphors today!).

So, LIGHT IT UP, dear reader! Embrace that buzz, get busy with it, take the risk, see it through, give yourself the chance you deserve, gift yourself a story of success, even if you fall flat on your face. I’ll be around to help you back up when you do, the same way I know you will be when I do too.


Ready to get elevated?