Monday, December 17, 2012

Things are happening...

One of my biggest fears in life is that I am 'all talk'.  This may seem strange to some people since every job description I have ever had is execution oriented, I am a list person, and generally have a 'can do' attitude.  However, what most people don't know is that there is a statistically significant percentage of things on my lists that never get accomplished.  I will even secretly delete these things from my lists so that I don't feel like a failure every time I look at my To Do's.

The thing is, getting things done is simple when they are finite tasks.  If I already know what it takes and there are tangible tasks to be completed, then no problem.  It's when there is larger, strategic thinking to be done that it gets hairy.  You see, I have this mildly ridiculous notion that I want to change the world.  By putting myself up to such a gigantic and nebulous task, I am no doubt setting myself up for failure.  And in the interest of not being a failure, it is easy to get sidetracked on a simple path -- climbing the ladder to get to the top so you don't have to look around you and see the magnificent and terrifying canyon that surrounds you.  So, sometimes, if I get a glimpse of this Grand Canyon, I put something on the list that will take me in a different, promising, but unknown direction.

These lofty ideas are often the byproduct of the high of a great brainstorming session, or a random moment of inspiration.  They are also often fueled by alcohol and other uncontrolled substances.  A few things I have aimed to do and haven't done:

  • Plan a worldwide PR campaign for micro-lending
  • Start a promotional educational food truck
  • Move to Kenya to work with one of the most inspiring women I know 
  • Surprise friends in various cities by flying in one random weekend
  • Build a curriculum for teaching the kids in Ghana how to write business plans (yes, I'm going to hell)
  • Various sentimental photo album concepts
  • Birthday gifts
  • Christmas gifts
  • You get the picture

I can easily rationalize away these unaccomplished goals by saying 'Oh, I have to prioritize' and 'Don't be so hard on yourself, Allison, you can't do everything' and 'Who do you think you are, you can't possibly get that done!'  But do I really believe that?  If I really cared, wouldn't I just do it?  Or am I just afraid of failing?

Now, I don't mean to sell myself short here.  Even if there is a twinge of surprise, some of these larger things do get accomplished.  I did write a business proposal for bringing GA to Hong Kong.  I did e-mail the Head of the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs (multiple times) because I wanted an internship.  I did make my brother a kick-ass custom cookbook for his birthday one year.  But I feel I'm at a strange inflection point where I am entering such uncharted territory that every time something big gets accomplished, I surprise myself a little bit.  But maybe that's a good thing -- nobody likes those pompous assholes who think they're the shit and walk around promising the world to anyone and everyone.

I came out here aiming to bring GA classes and workshops to Hong Kong.  I basically started selling the dream of being an entrepreneur, of empowering oneself through education from Day One.  It's easy to do that, but now I actually have to follow through.  Tomorrow night is the first GA event in Hong Kong.  It is sold out with a long wait list, and the calendar for January and February classes is filling up quickly.  I'm finding instructors, the webpages are going up, and we are selling tickets.  It's happening.  Now I just have to follow through on my promises.  I have to make it an inspiring and amazing experience -- or at least a seamless one -- for everyone involved.  Could this really work?  I think I can do it, I do.  But I still won't believe it until I see it.  Is that a bad thing?