#FirstWorldFriday: I’m afraid of taking risk and will never awaken the giant within

first world problem tears


This is First World Fridays #FWF (check out the first FWF here – it was a wild success!) where I share the frivolous stuff that I allow to occupy my mind, and I turn it into an expression of gratitude. Please do it the same – in the comments, Facebook, Twitter, privately within yourself. Tag it #FWF (yes, I’m asking you to tag your silent prayers) and let’s start a revolution.

My #FWF: I’m making a bunch of changes in my professional life, shifting my focus away from freelance business writing that has treated me so well for the past 10 years, and into projects attached to this blog: books and other products, a bigger radio platform, and other exciting things I’ll announce shortly. For the past 1.5 years I’ve been writing here, it’s been so exciting to create a place for other professional single parents to connect, a place to experiment creatively and find my very best writing and storytelling. I’ve been blown away by the number of people who come here every day, the media attention and an overall shove from the universe to focus my energy here. And it’s so unbelievably fun!

Plus, if you know anything about publishing, you know that market has gone bananas and freelance writing rates have plummeted. I’d be a moron not to change up my strategy.

And in the past couple of months I’ve finally devised a business model I am excited will build on all this success. But it will take time. It will take money. And it will take a whole lot of risk. Financial risk. Emotional risk. Risk of embarrassment (I mean, I offer up advice on business all day long! Aren’t I the expert?!! Experts don’t mess up – right?). Risk of failure.



Gratitude: On one hand, all my fears are totally normal, human. But the navel-gazing is a bit much. I look around my Queens, New York neighborhood. It’s bursting with recent immigrants starting businesses. Women starting businesses. Nail salons and churro carts and day care centers. Women, I imagine, who invest all the money they have in the world — and maybe some borrowed from family back home in their poor countries — to start these enterprises. Are they consulting expensive career coaches to work through the “negative scripts” holding them back? Do they read self-help books to help identify their “giant within.” No! They get their asses up each morning before dawn, bust their humps, work like dogs and make it work.

So my gratitude is that I have the luxury to navel gaze. And yet I see how all that navel gazing is a crutch not to just get shit done. First World Problem, that.


About #FWF: Each week I will post here about the annoyingly frivolous thing I worried about the previous week. I also vow to devote that energy into an expression of gratitude. Two things are true: Sharing openly that which we are ashamed of (in this case devoting time and energy to silly stuff) frees you from that shame, and gives others the permission to do so. Also: The only way to be happy is to be grateful. So post here, on social media, or privately within your family, circle of friends, or even within yourself your own #FirstWorldFriday. Remember – In one breath purge your silly worries, in a second express gratitude.

Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post’s ‘Must Read” list.

Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

7 thoughts on “#FirstWorldFriday: I’m afraid of taking risk and will never awaken the giant within

  1. I’m impressed with your honesty. I’m sure a lot of people (including me) feel the same way you do, but would be too afraid to say so out loud.

  2. Totally legitimate, every one of your thoughts feelings. And I hear you about the “naval gazing” its healthy sometimes, but not when you go head on onto risking more of your money, life emotions etc. Hear hear, all goes according to plan. There will be some set backs, but you will come thru stronger, better and a super great model to your beautiful children. I love that you have such emotional maturity to see it in so many angles. I am rooting for you. Go GIRL.


    1. forgot, my FWF is: this past week my old boss who went to a competitor called me to ask me is I would like to go and join him and his team (he took the best people with him too) I can’t go until I pay back to my 401K the loan I took to finish our house… 4 more years :-(

What do you think? Please comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *