We Don’t Have to Get It Right the First Time

Do it imperfectly. Do it afraid. Do it today.

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

I pull into a parking lot near the studio on a summer Tuesday. A few minutes early, I watch children on a playground, hair matted with sweat, shoes untied, dirt on their knees. I wish I could breathe in some of their intoxicating enthusiasm and restlessness. Instead I grab my purse and tea and walk inside like a maiden going down the plank of a pirate ship, hoping the waters are shallower than they look and the sharks are away on vacation.

Inside I’m greeted by a kind face, “Are you Holley?” I nod in affirmation, the idea of denying my identity a fleeting thought, like a small sparrow, swooping across my mind. I’m guided to a small room with padding on the walls. Although I feel it might be appropriate, I’m not being committed on this day. Instead I’m here to record the audio book of Fiercehearted.

I recognize the irony—a book about courage and grit, yet I stand here with knees knocking. But I’ve also come to understand this is the Fiercehearted way. We do it afraid.

So I take a seat in a surprisingly cozy chair. A microphone is scooted close to my mouth. I read the copyright information of the book aloud over and over again while levels and volumes and details beyond my scope of understanding are checked by experts I feel so grateful for in this moment.

Then it’s time.

I begin to read words I wrote in the dark on a plane as I sniffled into a too-small napkin and tried not to scare my seatmate. Others I typed in a coffee shop with white brick walls, graffiti scratched into the surface. The ones that woke me in the night and in the day, in the heart way. It feels vulnerable to say these things out loud, to actually release them into the universe where they will float around with wi-fi signals and cell phone calls and the war songs of birds.

I find I can’t say certain phrases well, like femininity and Parmigiano Reggiano. I laugh when I’m not supposed to and I swallow too hard and too often. But we make it, the patient producer and I, to the very last piece. It is in this moment when I can see the finish line, when I can imagine the clicking off of the microphone and the reprieve from my own voice, that my stomach decides to stage a coup.

All of a sudden a roar like a primitive beasty comes from my mid-section. I begin to sweat—could anyone hear that? The producer asks through my headphones, “Um, was that your stomach?” I tell the truth. I see his grin through the glass between us. “Try it again,” he says.

But the beast wants snacks and protests. Good grief. Self-sabotage of the most embarrassing sort. A few more tries and we finally get it. I finish with my arms folded across me as a muffler. When we’re done the producer says, “Great job. Go get something to eat.” I walk back to the car where the children have finished their playing and I think of their matted, sweaty hair and the dirt on their knees again. Why is it that we, as grown-ups, are so humbled when it becomes apparent we’re human?

Maybe the beast was more than hungry; maybe it was wise. Maybe what I heard wasn’t a demand but a reminder not to take myself so seriously. Perhaps it was not meant as rebellion or a rebuke but more like the ringing of a freedom bell deep inside me.

This is what children and the Fiercehearted know and embrace, what grown-ups can ignore and forget: Life is not about getting it right the first time.


Holley Gerth

P.S. Friends, the audio book that I recorded is one of the gifts available {for free!} to anyone who preorders Fiercehearted. I hope you’ll preorder Fiercehearted, claim your free gifts, and join us for the Fall Study.


From August 16th through October we’re doing a special link-up series to celebrate Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely {launching October 3rd!} You’re a fiercehearted woman so I’m asking you to pour out a little love and courage with your words every Wednesday {the link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post, especially if it’s about living fully and loving bravely, and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {the html code is in the right sidebar of my main blog page}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth!

{click to tweet that you’re joining me here today}

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About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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