When was the last time you did something that scared you? Something that you knew would be good for you to do, but the thought of doing it made your stomach a little queasy, and took your mind into the loop of “what if?” thought patterns that include nothing rational and everything disastrous?
I did one of those things this week.
I had an all day photo shoot to get brand photography done for my coaching business.
Yep. I spent roughly 6-7 hours with a photographer, inclusive of outfit changes, location changes, and being the sole focus of a camera all day.
The decision to do this was one I had been mentally dancing around for several months. I didn’t want to do it. I dreaded the whole idea of it. But as I got further along in the development of my business, I came closer to the realization that this would be necessary for me to connect with my audience, and allow them to really see me in this age of digital marketing.
So I bit the bullet. I signed the contract and made the deposit. No turning back!
After about a month of waiting, the dreaded day arrived this past week. And guess what? It was actually kind of fun. And although I haven’t gotten all the pictures back, from what little sneak peek I have seen, I think I am going to really like them, and I think it’s going to be game changing in multiple ways, not only for my business, but for my own personal growth.
There are a host of reasons behind why this was a big hurdle for me. There is something about being a photographic subject that draws out a tremendous amount of insecurity. Feelings of vulnerability, judgment, exposure. Just the sheer financial investment, not knowing whether I would like them, is enough to create a good amount of fear.
And all of those emotions are exactly why I needed to do it.
Our biggest growth as individuals occurs when we allow ourselves to take action in spaces that feel uncomfortable. Think about all the big events in our life that are scary; your first day of school, the first time you jumped off a diving board, your wedding day, your first day in a new job, the birth of a child. These are all scary moments; but also often quite amazing, or at least important moments of life lessons.
But then you get settled in your life, as most of the big events have passed, and we get comfortable. These comfy feelings are good; they feel safe. It gets easy to settle in and stick to our comfy spots. And then the neural pathways in our brains get nice, deep grooves for our habits, thought patterns, and behaviors.
Most of us have something in our lives that is likely not exactly what you’d planned, or something you’d like to shift or change. Doing something about it becomes harder when we have those deeply grooved neural pathways.
If you are longing for some sort of change or shift in your life, whether it’s losing weight, or eating more healthy, or getting a new job, or moving across the country; taking the steps towards doing that thing are likely scary, or you’d be doing them already. Know that you do not have to wait until it’s not scary anymore. Honestly that day probably won’t come. Learning how to take action while you are still scared is invaluable. This is likely the only way you will make progress towards meaningful changes in your life.
So when was the last time you did something that scared you? If it’s been a while, I challenge you to do it. Don’t wait, even if it doesn’t feel monumental or life altering. For example; do you fear going to a movie by yourself? Try it. Does the idea of going to a restaurant by yourself fill you with nervous twitching? Do it. Is there a class you’ve thought about taking but are scared you won’t do well? Go! Exposing yourself to these experiences of unknown territory even when you are scared will start to shift these deeply grooved paths in your brain. You will come to realize that you are far more courageous and brave than you gave yourself credit for.
Have a healthy & mindful week!