On Fear

Photo taken on a flight from YWG to YVR last September when I was on my way to run the lululemon Seawheeze half marathon. Scary and exciting – my favourite combo!

In my first post, I touched briefly on leaving my 9 to 5 job to help out at my husband’s company and explore what a life with more flexibility might look like. What I didn’t mention is how absolutely terrifying going through with that was. Terrifying and exhilerating all at once.

The day that I gave my notice at work was legitimately one of scariest days of my life. And for about a solid week afterward I felt like I was soaring, or maybe freefalling, through the sky without a net. There was a lot of “ohmygodwhathaveidone?” going through my mind and on more than one occasion I asked Jason “is this okay? will we be okay?”

A lot of friends and family applauded the courageous move (although there’s a good chance a lot of them also wondered what the hell I was doing!). It’s been an uphill battle for the last four years growing the business (startups are no joke), so leaving my secure paycheck and going all-in with him was pretty bold.

The thing about doing something courageous is that it’s actually very, very scary. Here’s what Queen B (no, not Beyoncé) has to say about it:

“Daring greatly is being brave and afraid every minute of the day at the exact same time.” ~ Brené Brown

Preach, Brené, preach! This quote has come to my mind almost daily since shifting careers. I find it so reassuring to know that the feelings of fear and excitement that are happening simultaneously within me are normal and expected.

Here’s what I knew when I decided to do the scary thing and leave my job: I knew that I had to. Okay, maybe I didn’t HAVE to, but I had been thinking about it for a long time. The thing was, even though I actually had a pretty good job and worked with great people, I felt unfulfilled. I felt uninspired. Now, I know that not everyone who feels unfulfilled and uninspired can just jump up and quit. I also know that I am sitting in a priveleged position to not only entertain that idea but also follow through with it. And let’s be clear, it is certainly not without risk. However, a series of events unfolded before me in such a way that felt like the universe saying, “it’s okay to take that leap now, Ali.” So, I did.

It was a leap of faith I took in hopes of not just contributing to our family business but also carving out my own path. I think I kind of love uncertainty, if I’m being honest. A few years ago when I went back to work after my maternity leave with Miles, my now almost-four year old son, I felt completely deflated. Not just because my year of mat-leave was done (and I had to send my baby to daycare everyday) but also because I had nothing new or different on the horizon. In the five or so years leading up to then, I had finished school, gotten a job, had a baby, gotten another job, had another baby, and now here I was, back at the job with nothing exciting – or even scary – to look forward to. I know we can’t live our lives jumping from one whirlwind experience to another. That’s just not feasible. I also truly value stability and routine, but I think for me stability/routine also needs a bit of variety to keep it interesting. Does that make ANY sense??

I believe that no matter of how many times someone needs to drum up some courage to do the thing they want to do but are scared to do, it gets never gets un-scary. That butterfly in the tummy, leap through the air without a net feeling still pops up. What also starts happening is trusting the process. That gut instinct that you’ll figure things out and tackle obstacles that arise continues to get stronger with practice.

I spent so many years of my life scared to change or make changes and it wasn’t a very fun or fulfilling way to live. I can’t predict the future or outcomes, but I can trust in my abilities to take a calculated risk and put myself in new situations. Today, I have the opportunity to walk through my fear and find faith on the other side.

What a gift.

3 thoughts on “On Fear

  1. I think change secretly scares us all but like you pointed out in you very well written blog what a rush it can bring! I think the chance you took was incredible! There are those who talk and then those who actually go for it! Very inspirational and your already won! Taking a chance on yourself and your abilities! Love it Ali! P.S wish I could have met up with you but now I’m in New Jersey. Your in thoughts and I can’t wait to read your next one!

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  2. Wonderful piece, Alison! I also left my secure government job at the Manitoba Musem to open a yoga studio. Scary as hell, but I’m not who I am today without taking that risk. Way to go, grrrl!

    Like

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