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How do you pursue the work you’ve been put on this planet to do when the work you care about causes, at times, surges of adrenaline that make rest nearly impossible? Why go through the painstaking process of putting yourself out there when it might not work?

With these types of “what if’s” going through your mind…

“What if…

…it doesn’t work?

…they don’t like it?

…they don’t like me?

…they see that I don’t know what I’m doing?”

…how are you supposed to rest peacefully, much less follow through on doing meaningful work?

“What if,” along with ideals of perfection, have the capacity to destroy your ability share your passion and progress toward your dreams. That is, unless you find a way to change your “What if’s” to—

“What if it does work, it is helpful and they appreciate you even more because you took the chance and shared your passion even though you were afraid?”

Even more importantly—what if “success” could be shrunk down to the day, or even the moment you’re in. What if all you need to concern yourself with is showing up, giving your best, and trusting it was enough?

What if it were impossible to get life or your career wrong?

What if you are in exactly the right place to take the tiny steps to progress toward sharing your talents and your passions? What if—no matter how badly you mess up—the next opportunity will continue to guide you toward growth, and even better results?

These were the thoughts pinging around in my head as I stretched on the floor of the hotel the evening before a speech in Nashville, TN. Ideals for perfection, along with worry, held me captive for the weeks leading up to the speech.

Then, as I lay there thinking over the past fifteen years of my career, I remembered back to the day I forgot every word of my perfectly crafted speech as I walked onto a stage that held great promise for my speaking career.

If I can get this speech perfect, then everyone will see that I am valuable. Then, I can finally feel secure, I thought, as I spent the previous six months memorizing every word of a speech I paid someone else to write for me.

This type of thinking—“If I achieve this, then I’ll be okay/safe”—robbed me of enjoying the journey, sharing my authentic self and the gift of being present in the moment of the speech.

The more troubling part of this thought process is that “arriving” or “achieving” are fleeting, and then you’re right back to seeking the next level of perceived safety.

Turns out, the organizers of that event didn’t want perfect. They wanted Misti.

I tried giving them perfect instead. It didn’t work.

Now, I know—bring my imperfect, passionate self to each opportunity and trust everything else will work itself out in the process.

While I haven’t yet figured out how to dodge fear, I am grateful it is no longer stopping me from sharing my proven process for giving and receiving candid, compassionate feedback. The process is transforming the way leaders approach growth, engagement and productivity across generations.

One leader recently said, “I used to think the most important use of my time was finding good people. Now, I know I need to work on developing the ones I have. And, now I know how to do it. Thank you.”

Hearing about the growth stemming from her newfound understanding in the months that followed is inspiring.

What enlivens your spirit? What are you passionate about? What results do you personally care about creating?

Go do it! Each time you show up and give your best, you will not only feed faith over fear, but you’ll also learn what’s needed to get even better results in the areas that matter most.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister