Most of don't fail to launch. We fail to land.
I have this thing where sometimes I get so excited and passionate about a new idea or project and I use that passion and excitement to launch, but a few weeks, months, or years later I’d be like, “Whatever happened to that thing I said I wanted to do?!”
That was me three summers ago when I decided I wanted to go back to school. I started the research; took a couple of GRE classes (turns out I didn’t need to); wrote a brief draft of my personal statement (didn’t use that either); and listened to some pretty awful advice. Eventually, I became so busy with work that the idea of grad school fell to a wayside. Or rather, I let it.
Last week I had my first grad classes at Columbia U and I was nervous, excited, scared, and anxious all at once. I felt the same way when I applied in the fall and the same way three summer ago when I decided I'd go back to school. The only difference between “last fall” and “three summers” was that I decided not to let those feelings weigh me down. I shared them with nine people I trust and know would push me, love me, support me, and hold me accountable through the process. I made a plan on how I would do it, and, well, I did it! I was able to see that I wasn’t struggling with a failure to launch. I was struggling with fears on how to land.
I’ve been learning that landing doesn’t have to be so difficult or scary. Learning to land takes practice. It takes a vision AND a plan, which provides focus and clarity (you can’t just land anywhere!). It also requires self discipline (not self flagellation), clear steps (aka smart goals), the right resources, and lil bit of audacity, urgency, and resiliency (don’t rush the landing, but don’t stall it either).
Also, no pilot lands alone. I can't stress this enough: Lean into your community (seek out mentors) for support and accountability. I attribute so much of my success to the contributions of my community. So, share your dreams and fears with people you love and trust, and open yourself to the resources they can offer you.
And remember, it’s never, ever too late to land.