Words truly do have power. I believe that hearing the right message at the right time can completely change a person’s life – which was part of the catalyst for me in making big changes in my own life over the last couple years.
2012 was a rough year for me – my marriage fell apart and the career that I had invested so much in was going a bit haywire. It was as if my life was crumbling down so I could build it back up anew. And on my birthday that year, a dear friend sent me this quote from the movie ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
Here’s what really got me – “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
That was it. Those were the words that sparked some sort of deeper understanding in me that I really do have the power ‘to start all over again.’ It felt so freeing but also utterly terrifying at the same time. My mind came up with all kinds of excuses to keep me doing what I’d always done:
- You’ve invested so much time to get where you are – why would you risk it all?
- How could you ever make money doing what you love?
- What are people going to think of you for doing something like THAT?
- All that education down the drain, because you want to follow a dream?
Any of these sound familiar? These were my top tunes.
What I’ve come to learn over the last two years is that perspective is everything. I actually don’t believe any of my top tunes anymore….because all of these thoughts, while they sound well-meaning, are actually designed to keep me small.
These types of thoughts come from a very primal part of our brain that is designed to keep us safe (think fight or flight) but all they really do is lead to overthinking and coming up with endless ‘what if’ scenarios so that we stay safe in the life we’ve always known.
But the truth is, living the life I wanted wouldn’t happen by staying in my comfort zone. In fact it required many leaps of faith – some big, some small, all necessary, to get me where I am today.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the last several months as I’ve followed a dream and settled into a new home, started a business, and been navigating change almost daily:
- Following a dream, which often requires big change, is designed to be uncomfortable because it’s really meant to expand you – to expand your comfort zone, to expand your life for all the good it can bring.
- It will bring up possibly every insecurity you have. Your new normal is really ‘being comfortable with being uncomfortable’ – but the more you show up and commit to your dream the quicker the insecurities fade.
- The number one key to changing your life: change your thinking. You get to choose how you think so why not start to think in a more empowered way? Use your imagination, question your thoughts – how can the opposite of your tiny/safe thought be true? Then you come up with proof of how this new thought could be true. The brain always needs proof.
Here’s one of mine.
‘I’ve invested so much time to get where I am’
‘I’ve invested so much time to get me where I’m going.’
o PROOF: All the time invested: life experiences, work experiences, educational experiences, everything I’ve learned through them are all helping me in my next endeavor. Nothing is ever wasted.
o PROOF: this website, this blog.
And THAT feels so much better than my safe thought. This kind of empowered thinking is what will help me continue to live an authentic life and push me to step out in courageous ways toward my dreams. It is exactly what will work for you too!
So, here I sit, two years later almost to the day that I received that quote. My life now is almost unrecognizable to what it was at this time in 2012. I’ve felt the highest of highs and the lowest of lows but I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. They got me to where I am today, living a life that I’m proud of.