Commit – You’ll figure it out

Packing for this year’s Pan-Mass Challenge, I found myself thinking about one of their mantras… “Commit. You’ll figure it out.”

It’s their version of “Just Do It.”

Just say yes to raising (or paying) over $5,500. To do your best impression of a public radio host with the regular requests and reminders, even while acknowledging many causes deserve support and funding.

Just raise your hand to ride 180 miles over two days, even if you haven’t been on a bicycle since you were a child, or haven’t ridden more than a few miles down a rail trail. Committing even when you know your training hasn’t been as strong in the past, recognizing the risk of failure, or at least a significant amount of pain, will be high.

As I settled into the pain – chafing, digestive, neck – on Day 2, I reflected on how many times “Committing” then figuring it out has paid off for me.

Committing to my first Pan-Mass Challenge four years ago, when I hadn’t ridden anywhere close to the mileage or the climbing, has made me a stronger rider who can continue to “figure it out” when the training isn’t 100%. And, has allowed me to be part of a community of riders I am fortunate to call friends and teammates.

Committing to having the children, despite the fact we had (and still have) zero idea what we are doing, has given us the joy of witnessing and participating in, the growth of two amazing human beings who are preparing to step out into the world.

Committing to recording a podcast even before anyone knew what that was, which gave me confidence in my voice, my abilities, and my instincts as it settled in at the top of the iTunes charts, and today still allows me to connect with an amazing community of women who are now figuring out how to cope with teenagers and looming empty nesting.

Committing to speaking on topics even when I didn’t feel like I knew enough, or certainly more than other experts, which has not only allowed me to grow professionally but also brought me to new places, given me the chance to meet new people and to continue to own my own voice.

The fear of committing before I have figured it out is very real – and, a very female trait – (See this HBR article: Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified) – and still keeps me from raising my hand at times.

Because failure is a possibility. But I have to remember – the rewards always outweigh the risks.