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The fear of the unknown can be very intimidating, daunting and at times debilitating. Ultimately, today is the only moment we have any control over, no matter what our goals are, no matter what we have our sights set on. We may be able to aid the outcome or hinder it, but so much is dependent upon how we take advantage of the bounty the world has to offer us each and every day.
Whether the uncertainty you have is in relationships, your career, your longevity or anything that keeps you up at night, the key is to always make sure your wings are spread. For example, in a relationship, it is better to trust and work toward something wonderful that you may be uncertain about(a future, a life together, etc) rather than to settle for something mediocre that while certain, may not be all that fulfilling. The same can be said for your career. It is only when you take a leap, when you do something slightly different than what you’ve been doing before that progress has the chance to happen.
Here are ten ways to practice spreading your own wings:
1. Look for the opportunity in every situation. Any time you find yourself in situations that are less than desirable, choose to see the opportunity for growth. Maybe a difficult situation at work allows you to hone your negotiating skills, or perhaps a failed relationship is allowing you to learn how to be a better partner and also how to communicate more clearly what you need in a relationship and what you can compromise on. Believe it or not, there is a silver lining to everything.
2. Always be observing as well as participating. This past year I have had more new and amazing experiences than I could have predicted when 2012 began, but through each experience I tried absorb as much as possible. For example, if you are in a new environment, take in all of the surroundings, cultural traditions and behaviors. Drink in all of the inspiration that is just waiting to be captured. While you will most certainly want to participate, you will also want to be an observer of how and why things work – what you gravitated towards and what shocked you. Take note. Who knows when these observations could come in handy one day.
3. Ask questions of those who are the experts in the fields. If you are in a quandary, seek out experts in the fields you are curious about. If I have a question or concern about teaching, I often find myself calling up my mentor to ask her questions about teaching, or instead choose to read books by top researchers on topics that pique my interest.
4. Be willing to look foolish. Be willing to try, no matter what the outcome. Trying anything new can be intimidating partially because there is the fear that you may fail horribly. Well, of course this is a possibility! Think about a baby trying to walk for the first time. Many, many, many attempts are made immediately followed by tumbles to the floor before success occurs. But so long as you continue to try and fine tune what you learn from each experience, you will eventually build that muscle and find yourself standing without a hint of a wobble.
5. Keep a journal. Recording your thoughts in the present sometimes seems like a waste of time. However, just like a good bottle of red wine, well after you’ve tucked it away, the wisdom and truth begin to blossom. From my experience, it isn’t until a year has passed or more that I can look at the words I have written and see a pattern, or determine a passion, a curiosity or a purpose to my actions that may not have been visible initially in the moment. Give this amazing gift to yourself – keep a journal. You may be surprised by how much it could help guide you to where you are meant to go.
6. Don’t run from what you fear. Address it. Confront it. Ask why you are fearful. What are you fearful of – losing, feeling, discovering? After all, it is when we confront what we think we cannot that we gain confidence and strength rather than by doing what we already knew we could.
7. If traditional mores don’t suit your soul, try something else until you discover what it is about the tradition that makes you uncomfortable. Often it isn’t the entire event, but labels, preconceived notions and assumptions that go along with it. Dig deeper and understand what your instincts are trying to tell you. Then decide to create your own culture that suits your sensitivities, passions, values and curiosities.
8. Become comfortable with your own company. Embrace what you discover about yourself through all of life’s trials and adventures.
9. If you feel you aren’t being heard, attempt new and different ways of expressing how you’re feeling (write a blog, take photos, start painting, begin sculpting, try dancing, exercise your voice through your sartorial choices, etc). Most importantly, find a way to communicate with the world which is healthy, helpful and cathartic. By working through your thoughts and feelings, you are not suppressing yourself, thus allowing for the world to communicate with you based on how you interact with it. Often times, what it communicates is full of valuable suggestions on how to progress forward.
10. Don’t give up so quickly. Have patience. I would like to use my experience in blogging to explain why patience is something none of us should ever lose sight of. Nearly three years ago I began The Simply Luxurious Life (at that time it was only Simply Luxurious), and as I now meet fellow bloggers who are just getting started, I realize that they have just begun to realize the multitude of opportunities that await them so long as they continue with their craft even when there is no fanfare.
Much like planting perennial bulbs in the fall, we won’t see or know their beauty until nearly six months later in the spring when we’ve forgotten about the time spent in the yard digging, spacing and kneeling to place them precisely where we want them to spring up. So continue to spread your wings, soak up all that life presents to you even if it doesn’t make sense at the time and trust that your continued efforts to live your best life on a daily basis are already paying off and will one day build to create an amazing legacy.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau