Over the weekend, I was talking with a friend of mine about life, goals, and stepping into a position of purpose as opposed to comfort. The conversation really sat with me, particularly as I related it back to the last year.
I remember the day I walked out of my office with a few boxes and over a decade worth of memories. Three weeks later, I boarded a plane with my family. I knew life would never be the same, but what I didn’t realize was just how different it would be.
While leaving everything familiar behind was a bold move, what the last year has taught me is that courage is more than just being brave or stepping outside your comfort zone. Courage is allowing yourself the ability to step into a truer, more authentic version of yourself based on your values and living life on your terms as opposed to someone else’s.
During the conversation, we also discussed fear. It is a topic that comes up often, particularly with all the changes over the course of the last year. I have had to lean into fear over and over and be that encouraging voice, reminding myself that I can do this. It often leads me to wonder how many of us are doing the same and simply need to hear those words to feel encouraged or empowered to step up.
My own experience showed me that until you believe something for yourself, the truth is blinded by fear.
I was working with a client last week taking them through the process of outlining their story and building a roadmap for the book they want to write. As we went through that process, I realized they weren’t ready to tell their story.
We had spent weeks talking so I could understand the emotion behind her story and help create the vision for the book. But as we got into the nuts and bolts of actually writing it, pieces of the story were missing from the words written on the pages.
Years ago, the same thing happened with another author I was working with who had an incredible story. Her editor and I were anticipating the manuscript as we knew the story had so much potential and while it was painful, it was beautiful. But when we got the final manuscript, it only skimmed the surface.
I likened the two situations, trying to find a solution to tap into that emotion and empower the client to go deeper, to own their truth, to be vulnerable. But vulnerability can be a really scary thing, especially when you are putting your truth out there and allowing others the freedom to react to it – be it positive or negative.
I started thinking about fear and why it can be so crippling in our lives when contemplating change or setting out into uncharted territory. Or in the case of my author, telling her story.
I felt that fear creep up in my own life last week as we received news that the owners of the home we have been renting are planning to retire early and make their way to the beach, leaving us 8 weeks to find a new place to live.
If I am being completely honest, after making such a big move and then spending the last year just trying to figure things out and simply adjust, the idea of moving again is very unsettling.
My own reaction to the news was surprising to me, especially since moving was never something that scared me.
It was fear.
Once I let the news sink ink and stopped wallowing, I realized that while it may not be something I planned for I still had a choice about how I reacted to it.
Just like it was a choice for us to move across the world and embrace the massive changes that came with that decision, I now had a choice to either be bitter about moving again or I could welcome the change.
Fear or Courage?
Much like letting fear stand in the way of being able to tell one’s story, I was allowing the fear of moving to further my inability to see past the obstacle right in front of me.
My perception of the situation was that moving again would be unsettling and feel like starting at square one. And while it is certainly not ideal, the reality is that it really isn’t that bad. An inconvenience, yes. But anything more than that is simply my own faulty expectation of what I thought things should look like.
When we first arrived, my son was struggling with morning drop off at school. Everything was new and it was overwhelming. Mornings were often accompanied by discussions about facing our fears and reminders that everything would be okay. I wasn’t sure I believed it just yet myself but I knew I had to be strong for him.
I thought of those early days again this week – the challenges of being the new kid, in a new country. Lessons we all carry with us from the last year. And I realized that while my words challenged him to rise above then, I now had to do the same for myself.
Sometimes courage comes in the form of sharing your story, while other times it can be something as massive as moving across the world to choose what you believe will be a better life for your children. And for some, courage comes in the form of simply getting out of bed each day and choosing to be thankful they are alive.
Courage is driven by the truth. And when you allow yourself to follow that, you will no longer be crippled by fear.
This week, let’s all challenge ourselves to lean into fear and be intentional about rising above it. Ask yourself if you are living life from a place of fear or are you boldly staring it down and saying, I choose courage instead?
Whether it is telling your story, embracing change, making a tough decision, or simply being authentically you – dare to be courageous!
Cheers to a new week!