Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Things I have gained because I did something that scared me (in no particular order):
A very lovable husband
Travel experiences in 20+ countries
Memories of the shenanigans of 20-something expat life
Experience being the founder of an international artist group
Two art exhibitions in Germany
A new hybrid car
A website to showcase my work to the world
An open mind that naturally results from being around people “other” than you
A new career that excites me
Our Limiting beliefs
These are all things I cherish very much today, but I wouldn’t have them now if I had stayed in my comfort zone over the past ten years. You see, I grew up in a small town with almost no diversity. When I was in high school, my amazing mom was granted a Fulbright scholarship to go on a trip to Japan and document her experiences through her art, leading to a gallery exhibition of her beautiful watercolour paintings.
My reaction to the news? “Why would you want to go to Japan?”
I hadn’t even considered that there was a whole world out there, one that offered ample opportunity for incredible experiences.
I didn’t know anything about Japan, Asia, or traveling. Of course, I have come to my senses since my teenage years (haven’t we all?).
My mom’s hunger for adventure continued. After my first year of university, her and my dad decided to move overseas. He sold his business and they moved to China, where my mom was offered a job teaching at an international school. It was a life-changing experience for us all, leading to so many positive outcomes that none of us could have ever expected. Many of those positive outcomes involved being uncomfortable.
It was the example set by my incredible parents that was my push to be brave.
My life over the past decade has held innumerable uncomfortable situations that occurred from being stretched out of my comfort zone. At times, I have retreated back. Sometimes being uncomfortable is overwhelming and you just need to hang out in bed for a while. Or escape into a particularly engaging novel. Or binge watch your favorite show to forget about the possibilities that are awaiting your action. All perfectly acceptable coping mechanisms if done in moderation.
The times that I put on a brave face and charged ahead have shaped my life for the better. You see all those things on my list above? I wouldn’t have those things if I didn’t overcome fear. Heck yes it’s scary to move to a new country without knowing a soul! It’s scary to try and make a new friend, go on a first date, or even go to a new yoga class. But there is so much to gain from stretching yourself out of the comfort zone. You can’t possibly know just how much you stand to gain from being uncomfortable for a short period of time.
If you have read this far, thank you for taking time out of your busy day. But now I have homework for you:
Make your own list. Write down all the things in your life that you have as a direct result of you facing your fears.
Look at what you wrote and feel sincere gratitude that you were able to experience and have these things in your life.
If your list isn’t as long as you would like, then ask yourself: “Why not?”
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