Change is scary. Whether you want to move to another country or change your diet to save your health.
It takes guts and it takes trust.
4 years ago I found myself sitting on a plane to move across the globe to live in some small city in China that no one has ever heard of, ALONE. Here is a real excerpt from my diary that I wrote on that very same plane ride.
“In less than 16 hours a man named Kevin (who I can only pray speaks English) will come to pick me up and I will travel three hours to get to the small city where I will be teaching English. I think about my life and everything that has happened in the past year: my capstone play, Spain, backpacking, hellos and goodbyes (countless ones). I feel like this is the right thing for me to do but at the same time I am so scared. Scared of what they will think of me, judge me that I don’t speak Chinese. I am scared of teaching and not knowing what I am doing. The first day in class scares me so much. I imagine their faces looking me up and down expecting me to be this expert that was flown in just for their class. While I look like a deer in the headlights trying to figure out what we should do next.
Stop. Breath. I need to trust myself.”
Although it was hard, sometimes learning to trust yourself and trusting that everything will be ok is the real test.
So how do you let go of the crippling fear enough to take these risks? I’ve laid it out step by step.
STEP ONE: BREATH THROUGH IT:
The reality is, you are going to be scared, it is going to be scary! As an actor right before getting on stage I would get butterflies in the pit of my stomach, I couldn’t push them away. Instead I had to embrace them and make that first step on stage. When you are taking any big risk in life, you can’t nor shouldn’t ignore the fear. Those same butterflies that make you want to take a step back are the same that make you feel alive and let you know that you are onto something great. Instead learn to live in that space, live there and breathe through it. Because the fear passes, it always passes.
STEP TWO: TELL YOURSELF YOU GOT THIS!!
Remind yourself WHY you got this! Remind yourself of all of your strengths, accomplishments and why you should trust yourself, because you are awesome! Also remind yourself WHY you are doing this. Try to see the potential of growth that lies in taking a risk so big, see where it can take you.
The very next thing I wrote in my diary:
“I need to remember everything that I have accomplished in the past year and how much more I have to accomplish. My goals. By the end of this year, I will be fluent in Chinese again. By the end of this year, I will have gained more world wisdom and confidence. I will find inspiration to fuel my art. I will find love (not so much romantic love, but the kind of love in friendships that reignite my belief in humanity). I will be healthy, mentally and physically, I will eat well and exercise and maybe even get to a level where my fantasies of secret agent like athleticism aren’t so far off. Most of all, I will be stronger. I am my mother’s daughter after all.”
If you do nothing, you risk losing everything you have to gain!!
TRUST THAT YOU WILL ADAPT, IT WILL GET EASIER.
Do you remember the first time you rode a bike or drove a car? I bet you felt scared and nervous you might fall or crash into something. But the more you did it, the less nervous you felt and the more confident and at ease it all became. This applies to nearly everything in life. Whether it is jumping out of a plane, driving a motorcycle, performing on stage and navigating a new country by yourself. The first time I traveled alone it was nerve racking but now it flows so effortlessly I no longer feel challenged by it. When you step out of your comfort zone, your comfort zone expands to fit you. This is how we grow. TRUST the process, when making a leap of faith, that it will get easier just like anything else you have ever done!
STEP FOUR: JUMP! YOU HAVE A SAFETY NET!
Even with all of the prep work you put into mentally preparing making your move, the hardest step is the last: jumping. Why is it so hard to make that damn jump?? This all depends on how much you trust that you will land on your feet no matter what, and that the universe has your back. Believe it or not, but the universe loves it when let go of something toxic or make a scary movie that is right for you. The more you trust, the more the universe rewards you. You are never alone in this human experience. Help is always around the corner when you need it and life unfolds in beautiful and unexpected ways. I have seen this time and time again. Here is the last of my diary entry:
“It is 3 hours until we land and I am suddenly reminded that things the universe often provides what you want and even thing you didn’t know you needed. While sitting on the plane anxiously fidgeting and trying to calm my legs down before they vibrated off of me, I flipped through the woman’s health magazine that I had brought with me but didn’t have the time to read. Skimming the last few pages, I came a across the whimsical and colorful spread that introduced an article about spirituality. The article was about how spirituality, no matter where it is found, can often prevent cancer and disease along with provides health and well being. As I read, it reminded me of the faith that I was reunited with this summer, that one beautiful night under the moon. Everything will be ok, I was reminded. I am not in this alone. Then later on the flight, just as I was wondering who Kevin was and praying that he was an English teacher too who could give me advice on my first lesson plan. The man sitting next to me turns to me and explains how he is also an ESL teacher. We talk about my lesson plan and he assures me that everything will be fine and I will have fun. He then gives me loads of teaching resources that will help me this next year. Again. Thank you universe for always giving me what I need, even in unexpected ways.”
When I landed I learned the school hadn’t bought books yet, I ended up using those same teaching resources for the next two weeks ;)