Once you decide to take a big leap in your life, it’s easy to go from feeling stagnant to finally feeling like you’re ready to conquer the world. It’s like going from fumbling in the shadows to “whoa, I can see clearly now!”.
Your persistence gets you closer to your dreams. That should build up your confidence even more, right? Well, not always.
The total opposite can happen.
The closer you get to making a change, the more you start to doubt yourself. Suddenly, that light doesn’t look so clear anymore. You start becoming less excited and more frantic, mentally running down a list of all the “what ifs.”
I’ve had plenty of these moments during the process of writing my first book, From Nine to Thrive. I mean, how is it possible to be excited, anxious, confident, unsure, scared, and thrilled at the same time? Shouldn’t I be enjoying the whole process and marinating in accomplishing such a meaningful goal?
But the truth is this: Behind all the emotions is a sneaky little culprit–vulnerability.
In an interview about her popular book, Daring Greatly, author Brené Brown made a striking connection between vulnerability and joy:
“When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, we lose the courage to be joyful. Joy is a daring emotion! We are going to let ourselves stop in a moment that won’t last forever, that can be taken away. We feel almost that “you are a schmuck if you let yourself feel too deeply because the bad stuff is going to happen.”
Yes, Brené, this is so true!
It’s the “bad stuff” that stops many of us in our tracks. It’s as paralyzing as going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and finding a big spider lurking on the wall by the toilet as your eyes adjust to the light.
The closer you get to a big change or accomplishment, the more open you become to everyone’s opinions and expectations.
The more real it becomes, the more real it is. You start asking: “Did I make the right decision?” or “Did I do enough?”
Well, let me tell you: The fact that you stepped out of your comfort zone is enough. Thrive with all your heart. Nurture your goals. Embrace your imperfections. And be amazed by your ability to do what many only wish they can do. When you think, “what if I fail,” remember this poem:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about vulnerability, listen to Brené Brown’s inspiring TED talk about The Power of Vulnerability.