Nothing has held me back more in my life than fear of disapproval, fear of being alone, fear of failing in the eyes of others, fear of embarrassing myself.
These fears have held me back from making bold choices, empowered moves, and above all else, from stepping into my purpose. Stepping into your purpose essentially means becoming who you really are by accepting your natural gifts and sharing them with the world. Stepping into your purpose also means that you choose authentic self-expression and fulfillment. It means that you are choosing yourself.
Sometimes the steps you have to take to step into your purpose are scary, wild, and daunting. Can I really do this? However the struggle doesn't end there. Once you convince yourself that you can, in fact, do it, you still have everyone else in your life who may or may not approve. This second step is often even harder, because it is outside of our control.
This week I have the honor to introduce you to my dear friend Michele Mikeska, who is a freelance art director and life-long wanderluster. Michele experienced quite a number of curve balls this last year (in career and in romance!) and had to make some bold choices. In this week's post, she will share with you what it was like to share her decisions and choices with those around her. You might be surprised!
Recently, I faced the challenge of sharing something that I wasn't quite sure I was comfortable with myself. A little back story... in the past year, life has thrown some good curve balls. While each one of these experiences has propelled me into something new, something better, it has been a gauntlet in self-expression, self-acceptance, and a constant exercise in transparency with those closest to me (and some not so close to me). In the past year, I sold a business, sold a house, ended a relationship, started a relationship, ended a relationship and decided to change careers. And as a recovering perfectionist, with each announcement, I felt that heart-pounding fear of how people would react.
So, I should say... I've always believed "honest is the best policy". However, I feel like whoever developed that expression should have had added a screaming addendum... (Asterisk: "Sometimes, this will be really freakin' hard!")
On a basic level, it was necessity to tell friends and family that changes were happening. But then there would be this little (or sometimes big) voice in my head that would say, "Uuuughhh, I hope they understand. I hope they don't think that I'm failure for wanting to sell this business, think I'm crazypants because I want to change careers, or feel disappointed in this relationship ending." Interestingly enough, I had a few people in mind when this conversation was taking place. They were my "hard sells".
So, I did what any good marketer would do, I did test drives on target audiences. Those that I knew would unconditionally be there for me. I'd place a toe in the water, and wait for the reaction. "Oh, not so bad". But then it came time to tell the "hard sells", those that I knew that would ask questions, challenge me, potentially be disapproving. And something surprising happened: understanding. I received not only support, but stories of reflection, dreams, and aspirations. It was both embarrassing in my lack of faith to those closest to me, and humbling. Quite frankly, it was surreal.
The thing is, at some point you get to the place of such conviction about what is right (or the downright exhaustion of uncertainty) that your inward gaze becomes stronger than the outer desire for approval. The struggle ends, and you say, " WTF, go for it."
I had the realization that the fear of sharing and trusting in someone else's support is far harder than just doing it.
We often discount our "silent supporters". Though, it turns out our cheerleaders, our wanderlust supporters, those that know when you dream big, you become BIG are there... quietly or loudly cheering. And when we open ourselves up, our support system grows.
Experienced, composed, and written by Michele Mikeska.
Michele Mikeska is a freelance art director, insatiable traveler, everyday joy seeker and a life-long wanderluster. Her blog named, The Wanderluster, compiles her life lessons, lookings, and loves.
In the comments below, we'd love to hear from you: What changes have you made in your life or what shifts do you want to make that you are keeping a secret? What is happening or brewing inside of you that you are not sharing with your friends and family? What do you fear will happen?