A couple weeks ago someone called me brave.
What was I doing? Nothing notable…really. At least, that’s what I thought.
I went on a date. With a stranger. A stranger I met on the internet.
(Can we all just agree that there isn’t a stigma related to that, anymore? That way I can feel like it’s a normal thing to write about it in a blog that literally anyone in the world could read. Agree? K, cool.)
So, anyway. That’s a normal thing, right? Doesn’t take much bravery. Aside from the bravery it takes to overcome the fear of being murdered by a random. But that’s easy to avoid when you meet in public places during times when lots of people are around as witnesses…
My response was of course, “No, I’m not.”
But then she went on to list a few more things I had done that she would be hesitant to do.
And I told her: “I’m terrified all the time. I’m just more terrified of regretting the things I didn’t do.”
Which made me think a lot about things I wanted to do when I was younger. You know those people who are always telling you they’re going to do something awesome and then they never do?
I’m so scared of being that person.
I can see it in people’s eyes when I tell them I’m going to do crazy things like move to Denver or start an ecommerce business. There’s doubt. They’re doubting whether or not I’ll do it. They might think I’m serious. They might think that I think I’m going to do it…but they don’t think I will.
To be honest, I can’t blame them. Most (okay, all) of my life I’ve been that awkward, shy girl who can’t muster up the courage to start a conversation with someone she doesn’t know very well. I’ve isolated myself to avoid social situations.
But I’ve also put myself in some crazy situations just to force myself to snap out of it. Hell, I wanted to be an actress for most of my life. A shy girl plus being the center of attention constantly doesn’t really make sense. But for some reason, that’s what I wanted.
I know I can figure stuff out when I’m in situations that make me uncomfortable. I’ve done it plenty of times before and I’ll do it even more in the future. It’s just getting there that’s the hard part.
And that’s when I ask myself, “What are you more afraid of?”
Are you afraid of taking a risk and having it go wrong?
Or are you afraid of doing nothing and always regretting that decision, always wondering what it would have been like if you hadn’t let your fear stop you?
To me, that’s the worst outcome. Knowing you could have something you wanted if you had only taken action.
Chances are, if things go wrong, you’ll at least learn something along the way.
Next time you’re too afraid to do something risky, ask yourself: What am I more afraid of?
I’m willing to bet the rewards of taking the risk outweigh the disappointment of playing it safe.
Got anything to add? How do you motivate yourself to take risks? Let me know in the comments!