How the Try Guys Inspired Me to Fail

‘TRY’ – to attempt something new or attempt a goal irrespective of success or failure.  To value the experience over the accomplishment.

The Try Guys

Last month I reviewed the Try Guys NYT bestselling book ‘The Hidden Power of F*cking Up’ here.  But now it’s time to come clean – 

The Try Guys have inspired me.  To be honest, they inspired me way before they wrote the book. 

I saw them host the Streamys earlier last year and watched a fully grown man dance in a giant diaper.  But I didn’t see four idiots making fools out of themselves.  I saw four creators, deeply inspired and in love with what they do, surrounded by an entire community of other creators.  People who put their best, or worst, selves out there on the internet every day and hope for the best.  It inspired me and continues to inspire me to put my own ‘best self’ out there for others to see.  In fact, it’s part of the reason why I am writing TheNerdyNanny.com.

When they left an established job with health care benefits to start their own company, I was awed, certain that I would never have the guts to do something like that.  When they took on monumental life-changing tasks just to see how far they could get, I admired their willpower.  When they wrote their book, I was impressed by how much work and effort they poured into everything they do.  And I was starkly reminded of how much my own fear of failure was holding me back.  

I’ve worked for years, decades even, in areas where I could not care less about the result, putting in 40, 60, and even 80 hours a week just to try and see the bottom line.  At the end of which I was exhausted, wrung out, and had nothing to show for it.  But not anymore.

 In honor of The Try Guys, I’ve taken up their challenge.  I’ve decided to step out of my comfort zone and, win or lose, just TRY.

By the time you read this, I probably will have already been at it for a few weeks, so hopefully, you won’t have to wait long to see how it is going.  For any who might be inspired to attempt their own ‘TRY’, here’s mine…

Archery

It started with the word ‘itch’. Well, that’s a really weird transition. Maybe I should explain…

At the end of their book, the Try Guys lay down the gauntlet and challenge readers to attempt their own TRY. Simple enough I guess. Knowing where to start was a bit trickier, until…

“We know there’s something in the back of your head that you’ve just been itching to try. That’s it. That’s the one.

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up

The moment I read the word ‘itch’ I could feel my fingers twitch for a bow that wasn’t there. But I’m not talking about a curly pink hair bow. No- I’m talking about a 5 ft tall hand-carved 43-pound longbow. Blame it on Merida or Katniss or Hawkeye, but when my fingers itch it is because they wish they were gripping a bow. This might seem a bit silly but, for me, it’s the itch.

I tried archery ONCE on a fluke at a Swedish Medieval Festival. And at a kids’ game no less. I was in love.

Make no mistake, I was, and still am, terrible. I gave myself welts from the string, smacked myself in the face with the bow, and I buried an arrow into the earth halfway between myself and the target when I lost my grip. But you know what I else I did?

I. Hit. The. Target.

I bought my own longbow not long after, similar to the one shown on the left. But you can’t just go firing off arrows in the neighbors’ yard (it is an actual weapon, after all) and an archery range certainly wouldn’t fit on my tiny back porch. I know for a fact there is an open outdoor archery club not 30 minutes from my house, but I just could never myself to sign up for a membership. So the bow sat, perched high on a shelf, as my fingers itched to feel fletching slide between them again. So, for Try #1;

I am going to TRY Archery


Health

This one is partially inspired by the book itself. I was tempted to give kickboxing it’s own category, right along next to Archery, before I realized my Try-list was starting to look more like a training program for the next masked vigilante (which would be SO AWESOME). But really, the reason I got so into kickboxing was less because I wanted to break someone’s nose (though that is a definite plus) and more because I had a really great time and it was just an amazing heart-pumping way to work out (shout out to X3 Fitness for kicking my butt in the best way possible). I felt stronger after each class I took (though not necessarily the next morning when I felt like jello).

For years I’ve struggled with minor health issues. Most tied inextricably with the poor body image. I’ve always carried a few extra pounds. Slim is just not in my cards, nor is it in my build. For years what I thought I wanted was to be ‘Not Fat’ when what I really wanted was to be ‘Strong’. I don’t mind the couple extra pounds around my middle, or at least, not as much as I used to. What I do mind is wheezing like an asthmatic grandmother after walking up two flights of stairs.

I have a tendency to eat like garbage too. Hey – long hours equals fast food and, lets be real here, I work at a Bakery. The sodium sent my blood pressure so hi I actually made a dentist say “oh shit”. The sugar had me tired and moody and dependent on my next fix. And apparently an entire box of Mac and Cheese is not a single serving container.

So, for this Try, I’m going to be tackling the unholy trinity of Diet, Exercise, and Kickboxing.


Education

I have a Bachelors degree in Supervision and Management with a specialization in the Health Care Industry.  It took me ten years to get and qualifies me to make exactly $10 an hour answering phones at a doctors office somewhere.  Without further education and certifications, my degree is one of those that probably isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.  In their book, Ned talks about choosing a science degree over the arts because, as he put it-

You can do comedy with a chemistry degree but you can’t do chemistry with a comedy degree.

Ned Fulmer – The Hidden Power of Fucking Up

A long time ago I chose a business degree over science as a matter of logistics but, the more I look at it, the more I regret not taking that leap. Higher education would have been needed either way. A biology degree on its own is just as useless as my current one. Unfortunately, Grad school is unrealistically expensive and grants are few and hard to come by. However…

I’m Swedish, land of the socialized healthcare, and, more importantly for this Try, Education. The idea of studying business in Swedish terrified me, as my Swedish has only recently reached the level of ‘functional’. Fluent I am not. However, there is an advanced Biomedical Research program 45 minutes from my father’s house. And, as English is the preferred international language of the science community, the entire program is taught IN ENGLISH

Make no mistake, my Swedish would still have to be vastly improved in order to be able to carry on half way decent conversations (with anyone over the age of four anyways). Add to that most of my science credits are more than five years old at this point, so I might be a little out of touch. But I know if I don’t try now I will never be able to handle the what if’s. So I have given myself two years and two TRY’s on this one, to ;

  • Improve my Swedish from ‘functional’ to ‘conversational’
  • Take additional science classes to beef up my resume
  • Apply for the Masters program at Linkoping University

After all, even if I fail, I’ll speak better Swedish and have finally (hopefully) passed Organic Chemistry. So, win-win.

I am going to Try to get into Grad School


Relationships

I’m not talking about the mushy-gushy kind with boyfriend and kisses (though I wouldn’t necessarily say no to those either). At this point, however, I’m just talking about the basic human threshold of ‘FRIENDS’.

What adults have failed to warn us about, and what the internet takes great pains to remind us of, is that your twenties can be an incredibly lonely time.

Friends you’ve made in high school or University have since scattered to the wind. You are all perpetually broke and just struggling to make ends meet, so no one is flying across the country for fun weekends. Everyone is busy trying to build some semblance of a life or career and, while digital communication can help us keep up to date on each others’ lives and stay connected, it is no substitute for face to face human interaction.

I can count on one hand the number of people I could call up to come to celebrate with me if I were to win ‘Children’s Author of the Year’ or ‘Best Nanny EVER’. One. Hand. And those people? They’re great. They’re awesome. And I love them to bits… but dear god do I need to make some more friends. I mean, I’d settle for carving them out of clay myself and asking Zeus to breathe life into them at this point!

Fortunately, I may not have to.

The best, most socially interactive point of my life was when I was involved in a group called ‘Rotaract’ in college (more on that later). We volunteered together, went to karaoke together, did fundraisers together… they became my family during those years. I’m not saying I want to start a new ‘Rotaract’… or maybe I kind of am. A group, maybe Rotary related or maybe not, of people who like to volunteer, who like to help others, and who just generally want to have a good time and be there for each other. That. That is what I want. And I’m gonna Try and make it happen.

I am going to Try and make friends.


Author

Okay, this one? This one scares me. Like, chest tightening heart palpitating tunnel vision and flop sweat kind of scares me.

Why does this one scare me so much you might ask? After all, aren’t you already an author?

And this is where my knowledge of Swedish comes in handy. We have an expression we use everywhere – ‘jag men nay.’ Or – ‘Yes but no.”

Yes, I have published (hopefully by the time you’re reading this) three children’s books. I have even (hopefully) been at least somewhat successful. But ‘somewhat successful’ doesn’t put bread on the table. Or pay water bills, or insurance premiums, or cell phone bills. It doesn’t even pay for a Netflix subscription. ‘Somewhat successful’ in the world of self publishing generally means that maybe, maybe, you’ve earned back the initial publishing costs on your book. Which means that I will stay doubly employed, working two jobs to both pay the bills and pay my printing costs, if I ever want to publish another book again. And I do.

I hadn’t even realized that writing books was an actual job until I was introduced to the fabulous world of Jessica Fletcher. So maybe my view of what an author is might be a little skewed, but it’s still what I aspire to. I want to publish another book. And another. And another. Another six. Another Dozen. Another Hundred even!

Like most authors, I have at least twenty different ideas going on in my mind at any given moment and I. JUST. CAN’T. WRITE. FAST. ENOUGH. But even if I could… I can’t afford to publish them all. So I guess, what I want to try, what I really want to try, is to be just an Author. I know that sounds a bit strange. To be able to say goodbye to jobs #1 and #2 and spend the rest of my days writing and doing book tours and promoting literacy programs.

And that… that scares me. Because if I fail… then that means that the one thing I ever really wanted to do, will remain a hobby. I’ll never stop writing, I know that now. But I will stay, living in the smallest bedroom of my own house so that I can sublet and use my tenants rent to pay the illustrator. Rationing out projects as the rent checks and seasonal work roll in. Pushing aside promotional events and marketing opportunities because, well, I gotta go to work.

So, Heavens help me, I’m Trying to be an Author.


My dad used to tell me something, which he stole from someone else. He said ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, you are not dreaming big enough’. Well, I’m freaking terrified, so I hope that’s close enough.

So, what are you going to TRY?


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