I’ve struggled with this for pretty much my entire life.
It has caused me to make decisions that I knew in my heart weren’t right, and in recent years it has proven to me that I’m the only person in the entire world who is responsible for my current situation AND my future.
I’ll call it a realization – one that has literally changed my life. Because now that I know it, I can no longer make excuses or dodge the fact that how I’m feeling, where I am, and what I’m doing is up to me – and me alone – to determine.
Being in the spotlight
When I was younger, I wanted to be one of two things (if not both): an actress or a model.
I thought it would be amazing to be up on stage, in the spotlight, and have all these people waiting to watch and cheer for me – how glorious!
Then I turned 8 or so, and I realized that people can be really cruel.
I was made fun of for my height, my weight, my pimply skin, this pretty crazy vein that is quite visible and runs down the side of my face, the fact that I wore glasses… and it was likely around this time (I’m just guessing) when I decided I didn’t want to be an actress or a model anymore.
I’ve only discovered this over the past couple of years, by the way.
The spotlight suddenly became something scary – definitely not something I wanted shining on me, because I already had a tough enough time hiding from the jokes and laughs… and I was just another kid at school.
I’m also willing to bet it was around this time I started to embrace the victim role: essentially feeling like it was everyone else’s fault that I was feeling sad, alone, and not living every day the way I wanted to…
I started feeling resentful towards anyone and everyone who wouldn’t sympathize with me.
How could these people not feel sorry for me?
That’s when the second-thoughts, the doubts and all the fears you can imagine came crashing down on me.
Every decision and action was put under a microscope – by me (totally self-imposed) – and I basically started doing everything I possibly could to NOT make decisions.
In my mind, if I didn’t make decisions, then:
- The result couldn’t be my fault;
- I wouldn’t look stupid;
- I couldn’t fail, since I wasn’t actually doing anything to contribute;
- People couldn’t make fun of me;
- I wouldn’t have any regrets.
Now that I’ve discovered all these limiting beliefs I’ve been carrying with me for years, I see all the regrets so clearly.
Now, instead of the regrets I might have had from trying, I have hundreds of regrets of not trying.
Then versus Now
You know when someone asks you “How did you get to where you are today?“, and you kind of stop and think, well, that’s like the biggest question in the entire world, because I got to where I am today as a result of every decision, every feeling, and every action (or inaction), I’ve taken leading up to now.
If I really think about it, the past 15 years of my life are how I got to where I am today.
But there are a couple of major mindset shifts that I attribute to helping me make big strides towards living the life I’ve always wanted to live. And no – not as an actress or model – but as something I never thought I would be: an entrepreneur.
1. When I lost a promotion at my Corporate Job
Lesson learned: No one else is going to give me what I want; I have to go get it for myself
2. When I attended a transformational training workshop
Lesson learned: I was walking through life invisible – playing small and letting fear control my actions
Based on these two experiences, and judging by the fact that they’ve been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today, I can say with confidence I’m here because:
- I took a chance – not knowing the outcome;
- I felt fear, but I embraced it;
- I was uncomfortable, but I took one step forward anyway;
- I was willing to fail in order to learn something new.
It’s not the first time you’ve heard of these principles.
In fact, you’ve probably heard them repeated over and over again.
Unfortunately, you either haven’t practiced them, or you simply cannot figure out how they fit into your story.
But that’s the point: you’re not supposed to force any of these things to fit – they’re already there, you just have to be open to finding them, and that takes courage.
I very well could be telling the story about my lost promotion with anger and resentfulness, but instead, I look at it as a pivotal moment in my life; that experience taught me a lesson many may never learn, and I’m grateful for that.
I could be hanging my head low over the realization that I spent years living life small – never speaking up, and letting fear control my actions.
Or, I could be sharing my realization with others, in hopes they can relate to the same feelings I had, and maybe see that they, too, are living life small and decide to finally make a change.
It’s all about having the courage to face these moments through reflection – and having the courage to tell your story, even if it’s just telling it to yourself at first.
No one else has to hear your thoughts, or read your words, but you do have a story to tell, and once you discover it, you’ll have learned some powerful things about yourself that could become major mindset shifts and pivotal moments on your journey.