Sometimes You Just Gotta Look Like a Damn Fool

looking like a foolWhen I was little I had this idea for my life.  Not anything in specifics, but a more general “oh, this is what grown up will look like”.  For some reason I imagined five kids – four boys then a girl and doing something outdoorsy or sports related.  Not actually playing a sport, I knew even then my growth spurts were very limited.


Then life happens.


I have one child by birth – a wonderful son who will be 20 in two days; but I was blessed with three step-children, two boys and a girl.  My son also has a couple of wonderful friends who adopted me as a second mom so I wound up with five boys and a girl.  Life exceeded dreams.


That whole outdoorsy or sports thing – yeah, that never happened.  I went to the corporate jungle for awhile which is much worse than any contact sport my kids ever played.  I learned the hard way what the unwritten rules were and how to “fit in”.  I was “ized”.


“Ized” is when you work for a larger company and you get molded into their ideal.  Merill-ized, IMB-ized, Lilly-ized – you get the picture.  You learn the lingo, get your hand smacked a few times for stepping outside the norm and generally learn to play nice in the sandbox.


I was in the process of being “ized” again by another organization when I realized I’m not really an “ized” kinda girl.  The things I wanted and my passions were beyond the norm in that environment.  I started breaking the mold a little and I started getting very red hands.


That is when I had the crazy idea to start my own business.  At first I was afraid to say it out loud, even to my loved ones.  It sounded crazy in my head so how would it sound out-loud?  I was afraid of being ridiculed.


But the “ized” continued and a bigger battle raged on so I took a chance and reached out to someone I respected deeply in a similar position and brought the idea to her for her thoughts.


She hated it.  She completely foo-fooed my ideas, my dream, my passion.  She told me it would never work, it was a horrible idea and I was better sucking it up where I was.


I felt like a damn fool.


I stepped outside my comfort zone, came to someone with my fragile little dream in my hands and she not only spit on it, she ripped it from my hands, delighted in tearing it to shreds then set it on fire and then told me to clean up the mess.


Best damn fool moment of my life.


Without that horrific experience I would have never been shocked enough to get mad.  How dare she be so cruel to my dream.  It wasn’t silly or stupid, it had merit and damn it I could do it.


Let’s remember a key point mentioned above – she was in a similar role.  Ding-ding-ding: she was threatened by the idea.


I don’t know if that was true or if she was just having a really bad day, but I chose it as threatened and it gave me fuel.


I started researching, I started getting more excited and I decided if I was going to look like a damn fool I was going to do it all the way.


I quit my job and dove in to my own business.


That was over 4 years ago and I have never looked back.


Oh, I see her now and then and she is always pleasant and I always bite my tongue in wanting to say, “Told you so.”  I’m a damn fool, not an idiot.


The point to my little story is sometimes you have to follow that crazy idea and just look like a damn fool no matter what the consequences.  It is your dream, it is your desire, it is your passion and it needs you.


It is fragile and innocent and unprotected in this “ized” cruel world so treat it with care and show it that you believe in it by being bold, being a fool and taking that chance.  Some may ridicule you but that’s ok; you just look at that dream and say, “I’m still here, tomorrow we will try again.”


Do you want to go into a new industry – then do it.  Oh sure, easy enough to use the Nike phrase, but really, that is all it comes down to.


Research it, figure out everything you can about that industry: how it works, who works in it, how did they get there, what do they do, what is important for the future of the industry and how can you make a single connection.


With that one single connection you can start moving mountains one spoonful at a time.


Do you want to go further in your career?  Then what do you need to do to get there?  What steps do you need to take, what processes do you need to master, what skills do you need to learn?  Take the bold steps in figuring them out and then going after then.


It is up to you to nurture that dream and it is not easy.  I learned a long time ago that the things that matter the most, the things we want the most and mean the most are the ones that make us go through the most difficult situations in the possibility of looking like a damn fool.


So go out – be a fool and reap those rewards!



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


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