Monday, January 28, 2013

Soigner Ton Coeur

We talk a lot about confronting our fears.

It's easy to say.

What are you afraid of? Stop letting your fear hold you back.

I have a friend whose life I inactively follow as I scroll through my Facebook feed every day. Often I see his tortured status updates and in them I see unmistakeable frustration and lack of direction, a sense that he's never going to become the person he's worked so hard to become or actualize his dreams... and perhaps, even more frightening, that he doesn't know what his dreams actually are.

I never comment, but I often want to shake him by the shoulders and tell him to stop whining, confront his fears, and go kick some ass.

I see in his updates the same fears I once had, the same crippling self-doubt and unwillingness to dive into the unknown. I thought debt was holding me back, or that my house of furniture was keeping me from moving, or that being too far from my family would be scary.

Once I stopped making excuses and decided to change my life, everything fell into place.

Actually, no, I'm not going to sell myself short by saying it was easy.

Everything did not "fall into place."

I gave away and sold all my furniture. I doubled up on payments, took on contract work, and got out of debt. I put all my clothes in the back seat of my car, quit my job, and drove into the sunset. Does any of that sound easy?

Eventually everyone gets exhausted by the practice of just holding on and hearing that everything, in some conjectural eventuality, will be okay.

It's my number one piece of advice—because I know it's true.

Confronting fears means making a plan and following it—and accepting that your life will not actually follow the plan. It means putting one foot in front of the other and making yourself do what is unnatural because you know, somehow, some way, you'll be better for it.

It means living your life with intention.

When you put pressure on your body, your body adapts.

When you stop accepting your boring life and atrophied limbs, you'll never want to look back.

You'll also likely start to seek out and make friends with other people who know the unmatchable satisfaction of getting what you've worked for.

If you want to change your life, I encourage you to hang around people who don't complain.

Hang around people who have big ideas and dreams and are excited about their lives and their work.

Seek out people who lift up their friends, celebrate their accomplishments and encourage each other not just to achieve but to take risks in order to do so.

These people will also be there when you need a couch to sleep on or a shoulder to cry on—if they see in you that you're not just wandering through your life.

And if you want to change your life, be that kind of person, too.

And when you reach success, open your home to people trying to be awesome. And make them breakfast. Preferably pancakes.