Have you ever had a time in your life when moving forward seemed undoable? When the excitement of the new opportunity was outweighed by the fear of the unknown?
When I was 21, I joined the U.S. Air Force. And they sent me to Anchorage, Alaska. I had been envisioning touring Europe or some other ‘exotic’ place during my time in the service. But when I got those orders to Alaska, I wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into (more on Alaska in a future post). Somehow, I was still there, seven years later, even after leaving the military. And I knew it was time to make a change. I decided to go to grad school, and when I got into my top pick, the University of Oregon, it was time to head ‘em up and move ‘em out.
Still, the day when it was finally time to leave was a struggle. My plan was to drive south to Haines, AK, where the ferry would pick me (and my car) up and take it down to Bellingham, Washington. Yet, when I woke and got myself ready to leave, I basically had a panic attack. Now, this is just about the only time in my life I remember having one of those. But here I was, hyperventilating and crying, saying out loud, “I can’t do this.” That fear of the unknown, even the exciting unknown, was overwhelming.
Have you ever had a time in your life when moving forward seemed undoable? When the excitement of the new opportunity was outweighed by the fear of the unknown? I think there are a lot of people out there who choose to remain stagnant, to not reach out for their goals, simply due to this fear. The point of me relaying this story is to assure you, those of us who take the leap, take it despite the fear, not because of a lack of it.Those of us who take the leap, take it despite the fear, not because of a lack of it. Click To Tweet
I got in my car that day and I drove off into the unknown. And let me tell you, in a state largely inaccessible except by plane, it was truly the unknown. About an hour down the road, I was already into very remote territory that I had never seen. But once I got over that fear (I stopped crying about 30 minutes in), the journey was quite an adventure… One I will never forget. And that trip led me to living and studying for three years in Oregon, a beautiful place to live. And that education led me to a job back on the East Coast, where I met my now husband. I could have had no idea when I took that leap where it would lead to. Not everything has been rosy since, but that’s life, right? I could have stayed complacent and remained in Alaska (I really do miss it sometimes, even ten years later), but I know many opportunities would have been missed.
My story may be one of a big leap and an actual physical journey, but are there chances you could be taking, that you don’t? Have there been opportunities you have let pass you by, only to wonder why if? While it may not always be the season to take those chances, sometimes the biggest obstacle is your own fears and the constraints you place on yourself. Where could you stand to stretch a bit? Do you have the chance to do something different, but something has held you back? Tell me about it in the comments below, or by emailing me at [email protected]