I’ve always been a rule follower (outside of a few rebellious stages – sorry Mom). I never skip lines or wear things that bring attention to me. You’ll never see me talking loudly on my phone while on the train, in a coffee shop or anywhere else that someone could hear what I’m saying. But it’s not about the fear of getting in trouble. It’s always been about my concern for people’s perception of me, and my incessant need for approval. I figured if I could stick to the script I’d be safe from public comment and ridicule.
I’ve made a career out of following the rules too. I’m an attorney. Attorneys follow rules. In fact, they make sure others follow the rules as well.
Attorneys don’t color outside the lines. They wear black or navy suits. They write in 12 point font, double-spaced and always in Times New Roman. Attorneys want to land the big corporate client: big corporate clients that have reserves of money allocated for legal fees. This is the dream, for the typical attorney.
But it’s not my dream. And I’m becoming bored with coloring inside the lines.
Yesterday I launched my first website. It’s just mine. And it’s not really what I’m supposed to do. It’s an outside-the-box approach to marketing (at least in the legal world). Most attorneys hide behind traditional websites, use posed black and white photos, and reveal very little about their personalities. I plan on being real, honest and an open book on my blog (gasp – I’m linking my Pinterest boards, Twitter feed and Instagrams). I’m going to share my legal knowledge by creating pretty charts and pictures.
When I pitched my idea to a few friends and family, I received an array of negative feedback. Some questioned why I would want to work for new business owners and creatives and told me these creatives wouldn’t have enough money to hire a lawyer. Others said that my idea was unprofessional and that I shouldn’t let the public see my personal life. My husband couldn’t understand why I would give knowledge away for free. And these were just comments from the people I love and trust – the people who know me best. So, what will anonymous strangers say when they see what I created?
Now that I’ve publicly declared I’m coloring outside the lines, I know I’m opening myself up to more commentary and opinions. And because I’m not hiding behind anything, and I’m revealing my truest self, I’m going to be that much more vulnerable.
I wish I could say I’m ready and unafraid of the next few days or months, and that I no longer care what anyone thinks. But I’m not quite there yet. I’m hoping over time and after a few more negative comments I’ll grow thicker skin. In the end, I’m moving forward to do what I love. And if it epically fails, at least I’m not sitting behind my desk in a navy suit wondering what it would have been like to follow my passions. I doubt I’ll regret taking this leap.
Alexis is obsessed with photography, traveling and her monthly ladies craft nights. When she’s not awkwardly photographing her food you can find her blogging on her website.
Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.