Have you ever been too scared to try something for fear that it could hurt you more than it could help you? Or suffered from serious #FOMO? (Fear Of Missing Out)?
Maybe there was a great training camp somewhere far away, but you didn’t want to go in case you would miss out on too much of whatever would be happening at home with your friends and family. Or maybe there’s a piece of music that you would love to skate to, but it’s really ‘out there’ and others might think it’s kind of weird. Or maybe you wanted to test your hand at doing your own choreography but then realized that you aren’t really a trained dancer and thought it might be better not to go there and just play it safe.
Sure, all of these fears could, in theory, happen. But what are the actual chances of them happening? Hint: definitely nowhere near as high as your fears are making you believe. There are millions of other things that could also happen.
The more important question to ask is: what are the costs of not trying?
Allow me to leave it there for a minute while I share some of my recent experiences with fear.
The decision to move overseas last year was a mixed bowl of emotions. On the one hand, I was ready for something different, new, challenging and exciting in my life. On the other hand, I was also afraid that all of my close friends and loved ones might forget about me. That we would grow apart and that they would no longer feel the desire to call and share stories and laughs. And that I would miss out on the fun they would be having without me. These were, no joke, very real fears I was feeling at the time.
Alas, I knew on some level that I would regret it if I didn’t go. So I started my new teaching job at an international school far away from home. And guess what? It turned out to be one of the worst experiences of my entire life. Yes, you read that right. Worst. As it turns out, teaching is not for me. I should note, there are many aspects that can be extremely great in this field of work, and I do love the students themselves. However, sometimes when you know, you just know.
Then the universe did it’s magical thing and I found my creative outlet at the nearest skating rink. This is where I felt strong and free. I could really express myself here, I could move, dance, fly, and just have fun.
What I mean when I say the universe did it’s “magical thing” is that my experience in teaching brought me to a place where I was pushed to confront a truth that I had been for a long time too afraid to face. The truth was that deep down I knew for a while that I didn’t want to be a schoolteacher. But I had invested so much time, energy, and money into my degree that it seemed like I had no other choice. I still want to use the skills I have learned as a teacher, just not in the structure of a classroom.
So, here I am building a new career path, and I am absolutely loving every single bit of it so far. Am I scared? YES – What if I fail? (even though failure is actually a good thing). Some people will think I’m making a stupid choice! Teaching has job security and good benefits… So, should I continue with a job that feels completely wrong on a number of levels but is “secure”? NO. First of all, nothing is secure. And Second of all, I’m curious to see what I might be able to do with something I really love.
I could not have expected things to turn out as they did when I embarked on my journey across the world. In no way, shape, or form could I have known what the experience was really going to be. And I am so grateful for all of it. And to address my original fears, my friends and loved ones are still there offering the utmost love and support. We Skype, we share stories, and we laugh <3 #lucky
Now, let’s go back to the cost of not trying: Never realizing what you are actually capable of.
You can weigh it out and decide for yourself.
Just remember that life is full of surprises. So if you cannot predict what’s to come anyway, why not go for what you really want?
Maybe that training camp will connect you with the most perfect coach or training partner. Maybe that music you were thinking of using actually highlights your unique strengths as a performer. And maybe your choreography skills are a force to be reckoned with.
“Keep some room in you heart for the unimaginable” as poet, Mary Oliver puts it.
Allow a bit of space for possibility.