Friday, July 24, 2009

Is that your final answer?

I am paralyzed. I am on the brink of new beginnings; I reach out, and just as I am about to grab onto what I want, I retract.

I am paralyzed by the finality of starting something. I am afraid to begin the wrong thing, so instead of trying and changing my mind, I wait. I am waiting for a bolt of lightning to strike the spot I’m supposed to be in. But there is no lightning. There is no final answer. There is nothing, and will continue to be nothing until I begin something.

Last week, I went to the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation -- a foundation that tests a person’s natural aptitudes -- to find direction, and to help me figure out where to start. Their philosophy is that people are happiest when their work is an expression of, and an outlet for, their natural talents. I hoped that if they could tell me what my natural talents are, I would be able to start the “right” thing. The results I got from my testing opened up a world of ideas and possibilities for me. They said, “learn a language, take up an instrument, dance, set goals.” They told me that I have a range of aptitudes that would be great for an editor, an crime scene investigator, a psychologist. My abilities can take me in a thousand different directions, I just have to pick one. They gave me the answers I was looking for. They gave me hope and confidence in myself. But they gave me too many options. I wanted one answer; I didn’t want choices. So now I’m back where I started. I found the information I needed to move forward, but now I am paralyzed by opportunity.

I have always been decisive almost to the point of impulsivity. I’ve never had any difficulty making decisions. I’ve also never had any hesitation in changing my mind, quitting what I started and finding the next best thing. But, this time I am trying to do things differently. I don’t want to quit, give up or move on. I want to build a foundation, be consistent, and succeed at something. I want the good feeling that comes from persistence and dedication. I want to learn new skills and use them. I want to be reliable. But, my fear of repeating the same pattern -- deciding on something, then changing my mind and quitting -- is keeping me from starting a new one. I need to take a leap of faith. I can’t wait forever for lightning to strike.

But, where do I begin?