Chicken Check-In


While on the road to St. Simons for Christmas, Patrick and I listened to an audio recording of Seth Godin’s book, Poke the BoxI know, I know… we’re way behind the power curve on Seth Godin, but still—I was so inspired by his encouragement to be a starter. Why not initiate change, projects, and innovation? Why not poke the box and see what happens?

But he also mentioned something that made me stop in my tracks. Godin said that every morning (or was it once a week?) with his staff, he’d conduct a “chicken check-in” where people could voice their fears and concerns. He’d ask two questions: what are you afraid might fail, and what are you afraid might work?

So here goes.

What are you afraid might fail?

I applied to graduate school in December. I didn’t tell many people, because the truth is I’m afraid I won’t get in. At Vanderbilt’s MFA program in creative writing, only six students are accepted every year. I had to submit a 25-page manuscript, my abysmal GRE scores, and a heartfelt personal plea for acceptance. I’m afraid it will fail.

I’m afraid I won’t ever actually sit down and write a book. There’s this longing in my heart to write a story about family, faith, war, and the difference between generations that I just can’t seem to bring myself to start. Actually, I start it every day in a new, blank word document and never get past page three. What if I never do it?

I’m afraid if I have children, I won’t enjoy being a mom. But I want to have children.

What are you afraid might work?

Next week, I’m heading to Blue Ridge, Georgia for a mini writers retreat with three other Atlanta-based writers. Together, we’re going to send out a bunch of pitches to national magazines. I’m terrified because I think it’s actually going to work, and I think this year, I might just have a story in a magazine that’s sold in your grocery store.

This past weekend, I started in my new part-time gig as a Harding Academy lacrosse coach. While it may seem random to those of you who haven’t known me longer than three years—I grew up playing lacrosse in middle, high school, and college. Now, I have a chance to pick up a stick again—and I think it might actually work. I might actually be a really good coach.

Okay. Your turn. I’d love to see a link to your “check-in,” or just leave a comment here about what you’re afraid of.

What, are you chicken?



  1. “Chicken Check-In – Growing up Gibson” really makes myself imagine a small amount
    further. I really adored every single element of
    it. Thank you ,Josie


  1. […] want this to be one of those “chicken check-in” moments where I tell you what I’m so afraid of. But here’s the thing. I’m […]

  2. […] My last chicken-check in. […]

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