I used to think that being brave meant you stopped being scared.
Now I know that being brave means you're still scared, and you do it anyway.
I used to think I had to wait until it wasn't scary anymore to dive in.
Turns out, it's okay to just make the move scared.
I used to think I should wait until it was easier.
I could learn more; practice more; research more. I should be more qualified, or more skilled, or more knowledgeable.
Then it would be easier, and when it's easier, I'll do it.
Now I do it hard. And it's taught me that I can do hard things.
I used to love that quote, the one that says, "In order to be more alive, I had to be less afraid, so I lost my fear and gained my whole life." It really helped me for a season of life, I think because believing in my own confidence at that time, and believing in my own desire to feel more "alive," prompted me to action. I'm not sure, though, now that I'm looking back and reflecting, that I was actually less afraid; I was just a little more confident, and I was feeling the need to make a move. The need to make a move was bigger than my fear.
The season I'm reflecting on is the one when I purchased the building that is now my home, and home to Wellness in the Village. That was about 2.5 years ago, in the Spring of 2021, and it was a bold move. I didn't even fully understand how to live on my own at that point, let alone know how to be a landlord, how to run a business, how to market that business, how to juggle finances, and then how to do them all at the same time! Honestly, I'm not every sure I knew at the time how much I was biting off; maybe I would have stayed a little more afraid, ha...
But I made the move. I risked pretty much everything I had. I have been attempting to learn, practice, research, and grow pretty much every single day since then.
This past weekend, I was faced with these feelings again. The situation was a lot smaller, but the feelings still felt pretty big...
As I prepared to speak at a pretty good sized local event on the topic of balanced nutrition on a plant-based diet, those "impostor syndrome" type feelings started to creep in HARD. This was the first time I'd be speaking to a live audience (aside from the small groups I coach, on my own turf) on a topic of this nature, and I was way more afraid than I expected myself to be. After all, I talk about balanced nutrition every day, and have been teaching for years... And I was a theatre major, for crying out loud! Public speaking is usually my jam. But I just kept thinking...
"Isn't someone else more qualified for this?"
"Should I wait until I have different credentials? More experience?"
"I should be more prepared."
"Maybe this isn't for me."
Right up until the HOUR before, my fear was in my way and I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do about it. There wasn't actually anything I could do about it, except suck it up and do it afraid.
I didn't die, in case you were wondering.
To the contrary: It was amazing. I felt exhilarated as I connected with the audience, shared a topic I'm passionate about, and knew in my heart of hearts that I was taking a risky but powerful step in the direction of my future.
One of the biggest lessons I've come to learn from the past couple years of trial and error, and from embracing the idea of making big moves, is that if you wait til you're "ready," you could be waiting forever. If you wait til you aren't scared, you may never know how brave and confident you're capable of being. If you wait until it doesn't feel so hard, you'll never get to experience the joy that comes with knowing, you can do hard things.
That's my simple message for today, I guess:
You know that thing you've been wanting to do? The habits you've been wanting to change? The risky step you've been wanting to take? Stop waiting. Stop preparing.
You are bigger than your fear, too.
It might be a little messy or hard or scary, but that's okay. Do it anyway.
I promise you, the worst thing that'll happen is that you could grow.