I can still feel Monty, the bright teal parakeet, pressed against my chest.  He was shivering and squirmy and didn’t understand why he wasn’t in his cage anymore.

It was a blistering cold winter, especially for Texas. My apartment was freezing and I needed to keep him warm.

I had awakened about 20 minutes before — around 6 am.  I only knew this by looking at my phone, as the lights on the clock radio had gone dark overnight.  I thought maybe the power had gone out.  But in the back of my mind, I knew what was really going on.

I had finally reached one of the lowest points in my life.   A few months had gone by where I hadn’t been able to afford to pay my electric bill, and today was the day my power had been shut off.

Words barely describe the feeling I had that morning.  Failure.  Loser.  Hack.

Well, that’s one perspective.

I couldn’t pay my electric bill because the business I had started several months back was failing.  I wasn’t bringing in enough money, and as a result, I couldn’t pay my bills.

Being in that position is a scary thing.  In fact, it was a major fear of mine.  “What if I can’t pay my bills?”  “What if my electric gets cut off?”

And that was the day it actually came true.

But truth be told, aside from the embarrassment and shame and bird bites on my fingers, it wasn’t that bad.  I was able to cobble together some money and get the bill paid.  The lights and the heat came back on.  Monty went back in his cage, and I learned how to better prepare for such circumstances.

The point is this: fear keeps us from doing a lot of things.  Had I been so paralyzed by fear as to not quit my job and start my business, I would have not had the experience of failing.  And what did I learn from getting my lights shut off?  It’s actually not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I’m not suggesting you stop paying your bills just to try it.  But making mistakes is part of making things work.

So, don’t be afraid to scrape your knees.  After all, chicks dig scars.*

*And I dig chicks with scars.  It means they’ve actually lived their lives.