“I’ll miss my flight.
I’ll miss my trains.
I’ll lose my passport.
I’ll get pickpocketed.”
These were all very real fears as I departed for Italy just a few short weeks ago. Spoiler alert: none of those things happened! I felt very safe and the areas I visited were incredibly easy to navigate, in spite of me taking the wrong train once (I still ended up at the right place at the right time!). So all my worrying did absolutely nothing for me, but it did steal my energy and time.
This was a dream of mine for 15 years, and I let fear rob me rather than pickpockets. I’m happy to say the fear didn’t follow me to Italy, but only onto the plane. Somewhere over the northern icy bits of Canada, or maybe Greenland, I had to let it go and trust that it was all going to be okay.
It really got me thinking though, how many times do I let fear pull me back from something I really want? At what point do I decide the dream is bigger than the fear? For me, it was watching my best friend fight for her life over the past year and realizing that we are not promised tomorrow. Live now, experience what this beautiful world offers you, try the food, the sport, the thing that makes you uncomfortable! In order to grow, you must be willing to hang out in discomfort.
When you begin wandering outside that comfort zone, you will surprise yourself with your strength and capabilities. Italy taught me a lot about myself. It’s true that we are so much stronger than we think… but so many of us are afraid to test it. I’ve always wanted to travel alone, yet it terrified me. I was married young (18!) and have never been on my own. I love my husband and my kids deeply – they were so supportive when I wanted to push those boundaries and see what I could learn and experience. I loved it! The Cinque Terre was all I’d hoped it would be, and more… Riomaggiore become my second home… I mean, just look at it:
Did I feel scared? Absolutely! I had a small panic attack when I hit Pisa… my AirBnB wasn’t quite ready for me, it was 30°C, and my backpack had gotten incredibly heavy by that point. I felt like I had nowhere to go, and no one to support me. Everyone around me was rushing around, yelling in Italian… I felt so alone… and you know what I did? I found a place to sit and grab a drink, then I played the downloaded Suits episode I had on Netflix. It was amazing how quickly I felt better… something familiar, from home, in my own language. My anxiety passed almost instantly and I was so proud of myself.
The proudest moments in my life, and probably yours too, were caused by stepping out and doing the hardest thing, that thing that at some points I felt I couldn’t possibly do, that thing that I feared most…
- my first 10K in 2011
- my VBAC birth to a 10 pound baby in 2012
- Tough Mudder in 2015
- my first public speaking engagement in 2017
- travelling solo to Italy when I’d never been overseas, in 2018
They all required a lot of discomfort, some tears, loads of anxiety, and above all, determination. Have you been uncomfortable lately? If you haven’t, I encourage you to take a look at where you’re going in life. It’s so easy to fall into fear… fear of failure, fear of letting others down, fear of the outcome. But life is so short. We miss 100% of the opportunities we don’t take.
We were created to thrive. What would it be like if we all lived life to the fullest? What if we finally walked through that door? If we faced down those fears and anxieties, and actually lived each day of our life?