Today I ran into a friend who recently retired at an early age after 28 years of government service. He talked about part-time jobs that he had tried; what worked and what didn't.
"It sound to me like you're bored," I said.
He nodded his head in agreement and added that the extra money would be nice to have.
"What would you do if you could do anything, ideally?" I asked.
Without hesitation my friend answered, "Wood working."
"Have you done any work with wood before?"
"Yes," he answered, the energy rising in his voice. "I have all the equipment and a shop. Someone even asked me to make a coffee table and end table but I made a mistake." His voice began to lose energy. "I placed the router in the wrong place. It put a gouge in the wood that I filled in with sawdust and wood glue, but they didn't want the coffee table any more. I haven't been out to my shop for a long time."
"You've stopped because you made a mistake?" I asked.
"I know. I know." He said.
The meeting we were sitting in began and the conversation ended. After the meeting he probably avoided me just like he was avoiding making another mistake on the way to realizing his dream.
That conversation made me think. Made me look at myself.
How many times have I not followed a desire or a dream because I made a mistake along the way? When did that change for me? When did it become okay for me to make mistakes because I understood that life is all about the practice? What excuses do I use now not to follow my dreams or to succeed in using my gifts?