Jumping off the Boat

I have been working on implementing my app for school. I found a lot of documentation about how to code the parts of the project that I am doing. I have access to at least two people at a moment’s notice to ask questions to about my project. I theoretically have everything I need to get my project done.

I am having trouble making myself do it.

I know that the only person putting pressure on me is myself. I know that I have people who are happy to help me get through my project. I know that my deadline is a month in the future. I know I can make my project less hard if I can’t figure one part of it out.

It is still hard to work on.

I am afraid of failing.

For the last year all I have cared about was learning Core Audio. I worked my butt off trying to establish enough knowledge to be able to even approach it. When I was in Boston at the Core Audio workshop I felt exhilaration because I knew enough about what we were doing to understand everything we were talking about. I learned stuff, but I was only able to make those connections because I had a solid knowledge base with which to draw from.

I am afraid that I won’t get this done. I am afraid I will fail myself and my teachers. I am afraid I will fail my family who gave me the time and support necessary for this opportunity.

This reminds me of when I tried going scuba diving the first time. They took us out on this rickety boat over choppy waters for nearly an hour. I got into my equipment. I was ready.

They told me to jump off the boat. I couldn’t do it.

I stared at the short drop off the edge of the boat through my mask and I felt paralyzing terror. I knew that I could breathe and that I had a floatation device on that would immediately bring me back to the surface. I knew my wetsuit would keep me from being too cold. I just couldn’t jump.

I used the ladder to get into the water, but I didn’t actually go through with it. When the instructor wanted to take me under water and take my regulator out of my mouth and have me clear it I knew that I was going to choke. I was hyperventilating and I knew I would inhale sea water and have to get CPR.

There is so much to success that is completely mental. I know I am smart enough to do this project. I know I am a good developer and that I will have a great career, but doing something for the first time is terrifying. Finding the first real job is terrifying. Fearing that you will screw it up and never find another one is scary.

A lot of people, including myself, think that all we need is a shot. We have elevator speeches prepared in case we have 30 seconds with someone who supposedly can give us that shot. No one talks about what you do after you have their attention. It’s easy to think that if you could just have a chance that everything would work out. Getting that attention is the easy part. Delivering on your promise is where the work and the risk happen.

I have done everything I need to do to complete this project. I established my knowledge base. I absorbed my vocabulary. I forged connections with people who can give me advice. I have my app planned out and the design finalized.

I will not fail. I will do this. I will succeed.