As I sit here in my new home, halfway around the world, I can’t help but think back to just over a month ago as the shipping container carrying all our belongings arrived and life began to take shape. We deflated the blowup mattresses we had been sleeping on, put up pictures from memories made through the years, and surrounded ourselves with all our things.
Even though returning home was familiar, there were still a lot of changes to navigate through and if I am being honest, one of those areas for me was my career. I was worried if I would be able to continue running my own business and what it might look like, now being back.
Change certainly has a way of letting fear creep in.
Just last week, I was talking with a girlfriend of mine who is considering a career change – a topic I could devote weeks, if not months, to writing about as I have realized since returning that nearly all my close friends, who also happen to be kickass business women, have had an “ah ha” moment in the last few years that resulted in each of us redesigning our careers and our lives, myself included. So naturally, when someone is needing help to brainstorm what a career change might look like, I grab a bottle of wine, pull up a chair, and off we go to dialogue our way to a solution.
As we were talking about the pros, cons, and owning your value in the marketplace, I posed the following question, “what are you afraid of?”
And as I listened to her speak freely and openly about her fears, when she finished I simply said, “that is exactly where you need to go, straight into that place of fear.”
I am certainly no expert and I continue to learn every single day, but if there is something that has been profoundly evident for me over the course of the last several months, it is that when you face your fear and do the hard thing, which is also often the right thing, the reward waiting for you when it is all said and done will far exceed your expectation.
A few months ago, this same girlfriend looked at me as I was facing a potential job offer – an offer that two years ago, I would have jumped at without a second thought. But now, knowing the circumstances of returning home, navigating through single parenting, and enjoying the balance I have in my life, it wasn’t something I wanted to give up. She knew that and told me, Jenn, you don’t have to!
She reminded me of my value and said, wait. Trust.
That was a place of fear for me. But, just as I am coming into a new season of my life, I knew it was also a time to lean into that fear and to simply let go. So, I did just that. It was scary. It wasn’t easy. And certainly, like most of us, I have had that nasty little voice creep up from time to time. But day after day, I keep showing up. I keep leaning into that fear.
And guess what? Everything is turning out exactly as it should – without force or control – through simply trusting. And part of that trust, includes intuitively listening and recognizing the words, “you are worth it!”
I was catching up with another friend just a few weeks ago, who is navigating through some changes at work and wants to put her hat into the ring to create a new position within the company that would position her for a higher ranking, higher pay grade, and more responsibility. She is ready for it and in fact, when one of her male colleagues did something similar just a few months prior, she was there helping to guide him through the process.
But, when it came to doing so for herself, she hesitated.
Through my conversation with her and again with my girlfriend last week, I heard a lot of parallels between the two and it left me wondering why we as women devalue our worth, particularly when it comes to our careers. It is easy for us to guide friends and colleagues to a place of asking for more, but struggle when we are faced with doing so for ourselves.
And you know what I have learned, particularly over the last few years, when fear comes knocking at your door, look it straight in the face and tell it exactly where to go.
Dear Fear. Go F*ck Yourself.
You are worth it! But if you don’t ask, you will never get an answer – yes or no. And who cares if the answer is no. Then that simply wasn’t the right door to kick down. Wait for the right one. Trust.
Several weeks ago, as I was still in a space of not knowing how life was going to unfold and how things might begin to take shape, a dear friend gave me a piece of advice that was a game changer for me.
“Jenn, you don’t have a Plan B. THIS is your plan. Period. You deserve this. You can do it. We all have your back.”
It was exactly what I needed to hear to shift my mindset to a place that combined simple trust with action and intention.
Months ago, as I sat in foreign country not knowing what would happen from day to day or how things might unfold, I was scared. I couldn’t see past that fear. I knew I needed to make brave choices and I didn’t have any answers beyond the immediate decisions I needed to make. And had someone told me that this is how things would look, I don’t know that I could have even begun to imagine.
Life is good. Really good.
I am coming out on the other side of a season riddled with chaos and instability. I survived. And not only did I survive, I am now witnessing firsthand the incredible life waiting on the other side of that door labeled “fear.” And I am both grateful and awestruck.
My life certainly isn’t perfect! Hell, whose is?!? But there is something beautiful in being broken to a place where you have no other choice but to face your fears and redesign your life, one day at a time.
Dig deep, take a breath, and kick that door down. Fear isn’t going anywhere, but you are, if you allow yourself to ask for what you deserve and not let fear stop you from creating the life you deserve. A Life by Design.