In my Cultivating Your Talent post, I talked about waiting for my talent to drop out of the sky and how much that was a ton of wasted time. But I wanted to expand on an important part of that which is the failure to launch. Let me take you back to March 2014, or actually a little before then.
When I first graduated from Temple University, I was in hot pursuit of a music career. I actually wanted to be a songwriter. So I spent the next two years after I graduated from college working at an Italian restaurant for the flexibility and hopping from studio to studio trying to make it happen. And it was cool. I have actually had the opportunity to work with GRAMMY-nominated producers, I’ve written with indie artists on their projects and the biggest perk was that I met the love of my life in that process.
But just as quickly as I was enamored with the music I was creating, I was completely repulsed by the reality of the business. All the music that inspired me to write was no longer the hot thing. People would tell me all the time that my lyrics were just a little too smart and I began to feel like maybe that wasn’t quite my calling. I was jaded, bitter and a little fed up.
And so somewhere in the midst of all that, I actually started working in the music business full time which shows you a whole other side of the politics, but at least there was a check coming with it which made it easier to bear. And then I had to try to figure out what else I wanted to do and so I dove into my blog that I had the whole time, but really hadn’t been devoted to. I took some professional photos and started pouring into my pages with no real direction at all.
I often think about if I had actually devoted myself to my blog in 2008 how much farther along I would be. I would have been poppin by now! LOL. But I truly believe that all my experiences and lessons have led me to right where I needed to be. See my dream had always been to affect people with my words. Whether it was through music, books, or blog posts, well the motive was the same. So there were these love notes that I started posted on my Instagram just as a way to create content. To make something to add to my Instagram instead of the RANDOM posts I had going up. (Still trying to find a good deletion app so I don’t have to do it one at a time. Let me know if you know something I don’t!) And people responded. What started out for me as really a reflection of God’s love in my life, really resonated with so many people and I set out to write my first book Dear Love. That was what I needed. To complete that. To see so many people come out to support me in that endeavor. That made me feel like maybe I was on to something here.
You may be asking, “So what does all this have to do with a failure to launch, Ashley?” Well I guess in my story, I just see someone who was always willing to try. I knew absolutely nothing about the music business when I decided I wanted to write songs. My first freaking demo contained a cappella recordings from my school’s digital work stations. And guess what? I am not even a great singer! HAHAHA. But that’s what I had and so the first producer that gave me a shot, listened to them and said these are REALLY rough but I think you may have something there. And I learned and worked and when it was said and done, my next demo had three fully produced songs which brought me to the next opportunity and so on and so forth.
Same with my blog. A friend helped me put my first site up and it was purple and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. My BF made my logo and I thought I had something going there. My blog has grown leaps and bounds since then. I guess I am realizing that I have never been too afraid to take the first step. Doesn’t mean that I wasn’t scared to crap. But I would always just step in the ring. SOooooo many of us are not where we want to be because of a failure to launch. We want to make sure everything is perfect. We’re afraid of what people may think. We’re afraid to be vulnerable and show that we might not know everything and it’s stifling. It keeps us from achieving the things that God put us on this Earth to do.
You are supposed to GROW! If my blog was perfect when it launched, how could I appreciate how much progress I have made. If my first song was a hit record, how could I truly be proud of where I started from? After watching the Life of Beyoncé on BET, I can definitely tell you that Beyoncé was CERTAINLY not built in a day as the popular meme says it. Those old interviews were rough my friends. But she did it. She stepped out. She knew what the end goal was and wasn’t afraid of living out the growing pains in the public eye to get there. Now she’s barely doing interviews but I digress.
Fear is a waste of time. And people are here today and gone tomorrow, so you best not let it hold you up much longer. You can learn along the way. Every freaking day I am learning something new about branding or SEO or whatever else. Over the last year you have seen the site revamped, the mission refined, a step up in graphics and more. Imagine if I never freaking started because I was trying to learn those things? You wouldn’t be here right now.
Don’t let the failure to launch be your failure. Effort, in my opinion, will always be the key factor that separates those who do from those that watch from the sidelines. Try something, try anything and even if you fall, you may just stumble into purpose.
What have you been holding onto because you are afraid to start? What will help you feel comfortable enough to take the first step?