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Life is Not About Not Messing Up (Paul Angone Interview)

Feb 3, 2016

After college and in our early twenties, we have some unique fears.

college fear

fear college young adulthood

fear college young adulthood

fear college young adulthood

These memes all describe the space where where my friend, Paul Angone, does great work! Paul is a Millennial Guru, having written on generational issues for RELEVANT Magazine, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. I met Paul in 2014 and he’s been a huge encourager for me as a writer. His writing has helped me as I navigate a difficult season in life.

Paul Angone

I wanted to interview Paul early on this series, but it took a while to get our schedules to work. Paul has written two books, the best-selling 101 Secrets for Your Twenties and his newest book, All Groan Up: Searching for Self, Faith and a Freaking Job!

I wrote a blog on fear and cynicism for Paul in 2014, so I’m grateful to host Paul on my blog today.

SS: Thanks for joining us, Paul. I want to start by talking about fear. What has fear kept you from doing in the past?

PA: In my life, fear is always lurking. Waiting to pounce. As I write in my book, All Groan Up, for years I felt like fear was this giant squid waiting to wrap its tentacles around me the moment I dipped my toes in the water. The biggest thing fear keeps me from doing is starting; from taking that first step into the blank unknown with nothing but my proverbial brush and an idea.

SS: Paul, where are you most susceptible to the power of fear?

In my thoughts, which seeps into and wraps around my emotions. Typically when I’m feeling my chest overrun with anxiety, it is because fear has been transforming thoughts in my head into lies.

 

SS: If you were to reflect on your own experience, what helped you become courageous in the face of fear?

PA: Being more comfortable with the ambiguities, uncertainties, and pieces that I can’t fully see or control. Learning that when I’m afraid, most times I need to do it anyway and then the next time it will be a lot less frightening. Life is not about never messing up. Life is about learning to move forward within and through the messiness.

SS: You’re the “Millennial Guru.” How do you see Millennials battling fear today?

PA: I think Millennials are battling this suffocating fear and feeling that life is not turning out like it was “supposed to.” This feeling of overwhelming lostness with no clear sense of what their next step should be. And whatever step they do take, they feel it’s going to be the wrong one. It took me a long time to embrace the lostness and realize that exploring and being lost are pretty much the same thing. Explorers just get lost on purpose with purpose.

SS: Paul, if you were able to narrow it down, what’s one thing you wish the world understood about Millennials differently?

PA: I wish the world understood that we can’t summarize Millennials like a box of Wheat Thins — a few pithy sentences and we have them completely pegged. “Millennial” is far too often just marketing speak and is our way of grossly generalizing the largest and most diverse generation in history who have grown up in a World of Change on light-speed steroids. Millennial stereotypes are all the rage these days and are one of the main factors blocking cross-generational communication and collaboration.

SS: Okay, let’s go from really broad to really specific. What’s one fear you want to overcome in 2016?

PA: I want to overcome the Fear of fear, the fear of the “what if’s” that keep me from even trying. Fear is a freaky thing. I want to keep making it less scary.

Thanks for sharing with us Paul! You can learn about Paul, his writing and his current projects below. 

Paul Angone is the author of two books — All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! and 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, and the creator of AllGroanUp.com — a place for those asking “what now?” which has received millions of visitors from over 190 countries. He is also a sought-after speaker, organizational consultant specializing in “Millennial Mapping.” Paul helps people find their personal Signature Sauce  — uncovering those unique ingredients where your passion, purpose, and career collide.

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