Face Your Fear About New Beginnings
Written By: Mark Smith
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Wednesday was my big day. The day that I began my new part-time career as a writer. I had imagined this day being one of the most joyful and exciting days of my life. I had been looking forward to it for years. And yet I was surprisingly quite depressed when I dragged myself out of bed. When I said goodbye to my wife to leave for work I rested my head on her shoulder like a little boy getting some last second maternal nurturing. I drove two blocks before a dark pit began to form in my stomach. I felt about as scared and alone as I had ever felt in my life. There weren’t any clients awaiting me in my comfortable little office to help me avoid my sense of emptiness. Who the hell did I think I was pretending to be a writer when everyone in my poetry class is so much better than me? I called my friend Fred and thank God he was available to hold my hand via cell phone as I made my way to Broadripple. It very much felt like the first day of kindergarten. Was that new beginning as terrifying for anyone else as it was for me? Being the new kid, leaving mom, feeling so little, being frightened of the teacher, etc.
My coffee pot brought sweet comfort upon my arrival. I would have been awesome if I had coffee as a kindergartener – that would have taken the edge off. I made another call to a supportive dear friend. ‘Face your aloneness and fear – let them instruct you so you can write’ she said. More encouragement came from my new friend Greg. ‘Your plan is a great idea – it definitely has legs’ he said. I’ve been nudged along to this point so now it is time to sink or swim. I’m definitely going to swim out into uncharted waters!
So, what possible new beginnings are you terrified about? Do you need to reach out and begin to start dating after being hurt? Do you need to change careers? Do you need to think seriously about leaving a distant, dead or abusive marriage? Are you interested in taking a class in an exciting new discipline? Is it time to take another run at the whole therapy thing? Is there a little voice telling you to start a new business or pick up and move to a distant state? What is the next step for you? Do you have the hunger and the courage to take that vital next step? Can you live with yourself if you don’t take that step? Are you stuck between an intense yearning and a humongous fear?
I can only speak from my experiences. Life is such a fantastic adventure. It can get boring and lifeless as hell though, if you stop listening to your heart and soul. Life is about growing and evolving. If you aren’t growing you are most certainly dying. Many of the clients I have worked with through the years have seemed quite comfortable with the known quantity of their stagnant, swamp like situations. Everything was predictable but at least you knew how the bills were going to get paid. They were basically selling their souls for the status quo. The devil they knew was less scary then the devil they hadn’t met quite yet. I’ve worked with others – far fewer in number sadly, whose lives have seemed more like a fresh bubbling brook. Sure there were points in the fresh river where it looked and felt like some really frightening rapids, but that was half the fun. There is a joy in taking calculated risks that are born in your heart, your very self. That joy is priceless.
Wherever your path wants to take you, I encourage you to ride the rapids rather than settling for the stale waters of the swamp. Let me suggest several things that I’ve found helpful in my own journey… #1 Lean on your friends. You can’t do this alone. It is ok to be scared and to talk about it. You can be there for them when it is their turn to dive off the high dive. #2 Find and lean on a mentor. There will be people who cross your path who have taken courageous steps and have lived to tell about it. Ask them about their journeys – most people love to talk about their own experiences. Ask them to mentor you – that is a high compliment indeed. In helping you they will be enriching their own life. #3 Do your homework – count the costs to whatever you need to do. Sacrifice is part of every great achievement. How much are you willing to ‘pay’. Is the timing right or do you need to wait just a bit? I hear that, but don’t wait too long though. Life is just too short to live in a stinky swamp! See you next week.
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