When I first started exploring the idea of sharing my thoughts through blogging one of my networking buddies recommended that I visit the blog of a well known tech blogger. He made that recommendation because I said I didn’t want to write about facts and events, I wanted my blog to be about ideas, notions and random connections and to invite people to agree or disagree but mostly to inspire them to think and challenge their own perspectives. It may seem odd that he thought I should read a tech blog but that was exactly the point - it wasn’t purely a tech blog, it was a blog by a techie who wrote as much about the impact technology was having on our lives as she did about the technology itself.
But when I did visit her blog the last several posts weren’t about technology at all. They were about her traumatic experience with a stalker. This person started with comments on her blog, progressed to emails, then to written letters. It started with derogatory raving and went to death threats and explicit pictures. It ended with her being under police protection and having to cancel an appearance at the Emerging Technologies conference, which, ironically, my friend and client Wendy Gauntt of CIO Services attended.
I was horrified, I was sympathetic, but I wasn’t scared. This stalker wasn’t taking these actions because of anything she’d written, he was obsessed with HER. Therefore, I reasoned, this wouldn’t happen to me. And it didn’t, at least not to that extent. But earlier this month I found out there is someone out there who IS monitoring me through the internet, someone who pays attention when my name or company name shows up in new content, someone who is interested because it’s ME.
It’s freaky. My first response was to do some online searching, what kind of content was this person able to get to? (check out Wendy Gauntt’s blog post about Twitter and Seurat’s art - I think the minutia of our lives do form a picture.) My next response was to do some soul searching, how comfortable was I sharing my stories and random ramblings, not only with strangers but with this very interested party?
I quit writing. I second guessed everything I thought about writing. I berated myself for not writing, for my completely unreasonable response. And I asked myself a couple of questions; “What are you really afraid of?” and “How much of your life are you willing to surrender to fear?”
And then I second guessed the answers, but ultimately I got to the heart of it. My answers aren’t the point, those weren’t even the right questions. The right question was this: “How do I live a life that is not compromised by fear?”
Because we all have fears. Lots of them. We fear loss, failure, pain and death. We fear ridicule, loss of face, weakness and being alone. We fear being backed into corners, making promises we can’t keep, not having choices, the list goes on forever. And all of our fears are reasonable because all of those things are possible (and some are inevitable extensions of living.)
Living a powerful life does not mean living a life that is free of fear, it means making your life choices regardless of your fears, building enough personal strength to have the confidence to face your fears and, every bit as important, it means surrounding yourself with enough nurturing elements that when the fear seems overwhelming you have a safe harbor to rest in until you are ready to set sail again.
So here’s to reaching our destinations, regardless of shallow water, storms and sharks. The threats may be real but the prize is just as real and worth the risk!