I'm so glad I'm not a giraffe (although being the tallest kid in class all throughout grade school, I was called giraffe… I digress. Back to my story about giraffes…). They have a really rough start to life. They’re born while giraffe mommies are standing up — think about that! The first experience they have in life is falling from six feet up, right onto their heads!
From this moment on, they are terrified of falling, unwilling to take any chance they might fall. They won’t walk down an incline of any kind. While giraffes are physically capable of navigating inclines, they’re emotionally crippled with the fear of falling. For this reason, zoos can enclose the giraffe area with a six-foot-deep dry moat. They’re called psychological moats.
For years I was uncomfortable doing just design work. I was more comfortable doing print production since there’s only one way to do it right: so it prints correctly. It started right after college, when I worked designing t-shirts. I would spend weeks on one design, until it was just perfect. I would show my boss who would say (with cheesy finger-guns as I remember it), “Good start — just keep working on it.”
I hated this! In my mind, the work was done, the shirt design was awesome, and I was ready to move on. So then I started designing for what I thought he’d want to see, what I thought he might finally approve of, and not what I knew to be good design. For months this went on until I realized my boss knew very little about design, and this was his standard canned answer.
For years after this, fear of not designing good enough was a psychological moat for me.
Where are your psychological moats? Where have you fallen down—failed so miserably—that you are now unwilling to go there again?
So here's my big question to you: What’s the worst thing that can happen if you try again? You can fall on your head. Well, you already know what that feels like. Not only that — you have already gotten up at least once and kept on going. You’ve already succeeded!
Now, aren't you thankful you're not a giraffe?
Thanks for reading, and good juju to you! =)