Open disclaimer. This post may seem random at first, but I promise you there is a point, just stick with me.
We have all seen the commercial about ansetry.com in which people look up there ancestors and they find that someone in their blood line did something great and amazing. I could not wait to trace my blood line back and find out something spectacular that my ancestors did. The further I dug, the more disappointed I was. To make a long story short, my family is from the south. I traced by my ancestors all the way back until I reached “unidentified African slave.” It seems that all of my ancestors were slaves or share croppers. It was disappointing to say the least, I thought to myself “didn’t anyone every want to be free!”
This brought another thought to my head, why do people stay in the same situations, never wanting to move forward, even though they know the place they are in is a bad place? Why would anyone want to remain a slave for years? In fact, my grandfather joined the Army and he was the first person in his family to break the share cropper career path. Then it hit me, FEAR! It is not that they did not want to be free but the fear of the unknown, fear of dying, or the fear of getting caught kept them in bondage….literally.
I usually consider myself a fearless person, but there have been times that I think to myself…that job sounds good or that opportunity sounds good BUT I am not going to go for it. There is no way that they would hire me or give me the opportunity. There is no way that I have the knowledge or skills set to do that. So in other words the fear of failure kept me from doing something that I wanted to do.
The idea of fear can leave you making less money than what you deserve, it can leave you in a job you hate, or a life you hate. Because like those slaves you fear making the wrong decisions or taking more responsibility. You fear stepping up to the plate because it is a possibility that you may fall short. So instead of being great, you settle for comfortable and mediocre, because it is too scary to move into the unfamiliar.
In reality there is a chance that you may fail or that you may not measure up. But do not let the idea of fear keep you from trying at all. The more I read about the people I admire (Steve Harvey, Kelly Clarkson, Heather Lindsey, Oprah, to name a few). They all have one thing in common. Their life had rejection, hard times, and some were homeless; but they kept going forward. They did not let one bad moment or rejection keep them from reaching for what seemed like the impossible. You are going to fail, you are going to fall, and you are going face rejection. But this things are made to build you up, not to keep you stagnant and afraid of moving forward. Eventually if you keep casting your net, you are going to catch something. But if your net never hits the water, then you eliminate the possibility of catching a fish.
Like my ancestors you will be slaving away in a hot field making someone else rich. Living a life that you hate because you are too afraid to step off the plantation and make a run to the north. Is there a risk involved when you try to break free, of course! But the way I see it, is when my grandfather decided to join the army…. Who knew that, that Alabama boy would go to countries in Europe? When he fought in Vietnam I am sure he was fearful, but he made it out. Who knew that he would become a high ranking enlisted serviceman, that most white people don’t make, let alone a black man. As I was cleaning out my grandmother attic, we came across a letter that said my grandfather was smart, and the white officer made the recommendation that my black grandfather was intellectually capable of doing anything any other solider can do. Which is much better than some master calling you a boy and a nigger.
He could have stayed in the backwoods of Alabama working on some farm, but because he stepped out, he dared his decedents to dream, and now we have good jobs, and college educations. Do not let the fear of moving forward, keep you from your destiny.