Have you ever been scared to take a big chance on something for fear about how it would turn out? I know so often fear can get in the way of me pursuing a goal or dream I have in mind. What if I fail? What if everyone sees me fail?
If I’m honest, I’ve developed a real fear of traveling. Between terror risks, flying and simply being in an unfamiliar environment, fear has gotten in the way of me traveling as much as I used to. And it’s not just being nervous on a plane and drinking a glass of wine to shake it off. Once I’m there, I can’t enjoy myself. I have fears that something will happen to me that I can’t shake. In fact, that anxiety got so bad when I was in Cancun I booked a flight to get home a day early. One day longer without my boys wasn’t possible with the fear I was experiencing.
Then, after I checked in for my flight, I realized I left my passport at the check-in gate.
That was it — I was stuck in Mexico forever.
Yes, that was exactly what was going through my head.
I raced back to the check-in desk, sweating, near tears, and saw the kind man walking directly to me with my passport in hand.
Now I realize that wasn’t a rational fear. But it’s kept me from booking a vacation out of the country for awhile (at least until next month, when we’re headed up to Quebec City!)
But there are areas in my life where I didn’t let fear get in the way of me taking a big risk. I often reflect back on these times in my life when I’m nervous about taking a chance. Enjoy!
- Moving across the country for college. I graduated from a fairly small HS in NW Ohio. Most of my friends stayed within the state, and I did at first (I actually started at OSU). But when friends headed out west to ASU and I saw it had an accredited journalism program, I went for it (originally I was going to be a broadcast journalist). Now, I’m not really sure 18-year-olds should be able to make those kinds of decisions, but I’m glad my parents let me. I met some incredible friends, got to experience a part of the country that was so different from where I grew up and had the freedom to learn who I was at such an exciting time in my life.
- Dating my husband. If you look up dating tips, you would not find the steps I took when it came to dating my husband. I texted him instead of waiting for him to text me. We went a few months without talking after initially meeting. He didn’t even pick up the check the first time we went out to dinner (in his defense, he had just moved to a new city and was in his mid-20s with no plans to find a girlfriend his first week out in Phoenix. Whoops!) I was certain “he just wasn’t that into me,” but thankfully once I let him know I was ready to date or I was out, we went for it! Fast forward almost a year later and we were engaged. I didn’t follow any normal rules of dating, but I can say we’ve had an incredible relationship. We’re supportive of one another, have been there for one another through really tough times, and have had a blast together too. Finding my soul-mate wasn’t picture perfect, but our marriage has been a true blessing.
- Taking my first job. I graduated college with quite a bit of debt and no real plan. Thankfully, I had finished some solid internships and at least knew the direction I wanted to go in. In fact, I had done some research a few years prior and kept landing on this one particular company that was about the only organization that was doing “content marketing.” However, they weren’t hiring entry level positions and everything was super competitive. I applied for their internship program and went through a strenuous interview process. They called me and I didn’t get it. I was devastated. But about a week later I got another call that the initial applicant had declined. His or her loss was my gain! I accepted the paid internship (which still wasn’t the first-time entry level job I was hoping for), and eventually was offered a full-time job months later. I stayed with that organization for several years after graduation and feel completely grateful for the contacts and opportunities it offered. I’m so glad I took the risk with an internship when everyone else said I should have gotten a higher paying full-time job.
- Leaving full-time employment. On the other side of that, about 10 years after I had started my career, we were looking at moving because of my husband’s job. I had just started a new position with a PR firm, had a newborn and a 2-year-old son. My husband had just lost his mom and our life was fragile and crazy. I felt deep in my heart it was a season I needed to step back. I never felt like I wanted to step out, but back. So I decided to quietly and steadily pursue freelance, contract work in public relations and content marketing. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made career-wise. My contacts throughout my career, my previous employers, friends and other colleagues have been immensely supportive and I’ve been able to work on a wide variety of projects I’d never dreamed of. At this point in my life I feel a deep sense of gratitude for everyone who has taken a chance on me. I’m thankful to be able to work during hours that also allow me to spend time with my family and find the balance I was seeking. It hasn’t been an easy road to travel, but it’s definitely been worth it. And I’ve gained the confidence that I can pursue the right level of employment based on the seasons of my life. Through determination, hard work and nurturing relationships, careers can ebb and flow and that’s OK.
- Moving back to my home state. Back up to the first risk I took, it was a big move to go across the country. Equally big was the idea of moving from Florida to Ohio. When we told friends that was our plan, we were met with a lot of weird looks. Who moves from Florida to Ohio? But it’s been the most fulfilling move we could have made. Our home feels like a place we’ll be a really long time. Our neighbors are like family. Extended family is closer. We miss things about Florida, but finally feel home. Sometimes making a big move is exactly what you should do, even when it doesn’t look like the choice everyone else would make.
If you are nervous about taking a big risk, here are some tips I have for helping you make the leap:
- Talk to mentors. Not your best friend. Not your mom. Those people are too invested in your personal life to give unbiased views of big life choices. Instead, chat with a professional mentor about what you are facing.
- Figure out exactly what YOU want. It’s hard sometimes to figure out if you are listening to others or your heart. Go for a run, pray, or find some space to listen to what’s important to you. If you fill your time with too much, it’s hard to hear that inner voice.
- Make a pros/cons list. Are you thinking about staying at home with your kids? Taking a big job? Going on a big trip? Make a list of what you could gain or lose from making that move. Sometimes seeing it all laid out in front of you can be helpful and show you some of your fears may be imagined instead of reality.
One lesson I’ve learned – you’ll never know how it will turn out if you don’t go for it!
What are some big risks you’ve taken that have paid off?
On to the link up!