I’ve always been happiest doing things differently. I didn’t realise this until last week. I had clues to this all my life, but most of the time I was wound tight around other peoples ideas of what my life should look like.
Now, at 30-whoppin-3, young enough to sink my teeth deeply into hope that I can change the world, and old enough to know what I don’t know and when to ask for support, surrender to what is, and create or remember my vision to move forward.
” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Original Thinker (Ted talk)
, I’ve begun to recognise my flow and embrace it. Embracing it took massive action though. It wasn’t easy. It was messy. What have I done to finally, after years of being trapped by fears of not-good-enough, set myself free? I practiced looking my fears dead in the eye, letting myself loose my shit, get a grip, and start fresh.
How I looked Fear Dead in the Eyes
Several years ago I learned that we can dissipate our fears by practicing something to overcome it. So, for instance, after having a successful managerial position, buying a house, becoming a SuperHost for Airbnb , starting a social media marking business (that failed) I realised I was still dealing with fear of what people thought of me way back in my brain. So, I got a coffee shop job that benefited me multiple ways. Close to home so I could manage my Airbnb between shifts easy AND I could face people across the counter who saw me announce to a room of 300 people at a Chamber luncheon my intention to provide social media marketing to our small conservitive community. What did looking into the eyes of many suited up individuals while I cheerfully made their coffee do to my fears? Well, I can tell you what, it took about 3-4 months, but those twinges and cringes left. They got the hell out of town, they sure did. After that I had the most fun I’ve ever had making coffee and making peoples days a bit nicer, and even coaching a bit too.
Letting Myself Loose My Shit
I bought myself a one-way ticket to Spain, registered for language school, and got a property manager to handle my house rental. At first it was a choice in the distance that gave me an adrenaline rush whenever I remembered that yes, indeed, I have bought a one-way ticket to Spain. But this wasn’t the ‘loosing my shit part.’ That happened upon entry to Spain.
The first month in Spain was full immersion. I couldn’t speak the language and I was living with a woman who couldn’t speak English. I was going to a private language school in which my Spanish was so poor I was in a class by myself. Great for one-to-one teaching, however very isolating. It took about two weeks for it all to hit me- all the cultural differences I just didn’t understand, my slowness at catching on to the language, feeling like the “old” student who didn’t drink (yes, I added that to my challenges before going on the trip) among barely 20-somethings, and it was all my inner shit that was coming up. Stuff you don’t really face unless you’re under stress and out of your comfort zone for sure. So, I got sick, mad, victim to not-knowing-enough-information and such.
Getting a Grip
It’s funny now I think about it, hehe. Thankfully, I allowed myself to sink into bummerville long enough realise what a great life and opportunity I have and I can either sit here and pout or just accept the challenges I was facing and move on.
The first two months in Spain were just like this, rinse, repeat. I faced fears of being alone, fears of failure, fears of not-pretty-enough, not-outgoing-enough, not, not, not.
I had had enough of the stinking feedback-loop I’d mentally been in in Spain. Now, it wasn’t Spain’s fault, just so you know. Spain was wonderful too. The family, the warmth in relationships, the slow-paced culture, the food, the beauty surrounding me both people and geography and architecture. I grew up another level in Spain. The muscle of Courage being regularly worked, I became more myself than I was before, and I’ll forever be grateful.
When I went to London, I was determined to start fresh. I knew the challenges of changing locations and starting over with people and surroundings and the mental struggle-futz I went through each move in Spain to recreate some sort of home feeling. So, I decided I would jump right into London life and learn the ropes immediately: transportation, cultural differences (my wonderful Americanness remains, however, I knew when to give a Brit their space by the time I left, haha), etc. And it as wonderful! I connected with my new business partner I’d met over the internet while in Spain, I mastered the bus/tube system, got to know all my local coffee shop people, met all different kinds of people, and had unexpectedly wonderful conversations with strangers.
Yeah, I do things a little differently. Now that I know and value this about myself, it’s kind of a relief I can stop trying to be like everyone else. I feel free and loved. What could be better?
Do you feel different? Out of place? Do you have ideas you keep quiet because you’re afraid of being criticised for your way outside-the-box thought? Well, that’s ok. If there’s one thing other than valuing my differentness while abroad its this: We are the same at the core. It doesn’t matter what language, what coffee, what pay grade, what business you’re in, what art you create, what education you have or don’t have. We are fundamentally the same. We all want to know and be known. To love and be loved. All the other stuff is just circumstantial fluff, but nothing to judge a person’s value by.
Email me if you want to talk. Do something different to embrace your different. Trust me. We’re worth it.