For so long, I thought about becoming a writer, but the problem was I never sat down to write. It was an idea in my mind that someday it would just magically happen. And so, I questioned, why didn’t I write?
I look back at one of those big decisions that put a direction into my life to help answer that question.
I always had said, “I don’t want to be a teacher especially a high school teacher.” It was my ex-boyfriend’s controlling mother who suggested elementary teaching as she made sure her son knew we were incompatible. So why did her suggestion change the direction of my life, all I can surmise is that I was so lost, and this suggestion gave me a direction down a safe linear path. The scariest moment when you reach the end of college, and still no idea of a direction which could make one easily influenced.
I ended up continuing at NYU in their graduate program earning both my Elementary Teaching Credential and Masters of the Arts. However, the inevitable break up with the momma’s boy left me moving home to California where I wound up teaching high school English. So, what happened to my declaration of never teaching high school? I’m starting to think the universe doesn’t work in positive and negatives so whatever you focus on brings it to your reality.
I wasn’t horrible at it, but I also wasn’t great because my expectations and planning never meet the reality of the classroom. I couldn’t tweak my vision in my head enough to create it in the classroom because I didn’t believe in my abilities enough. For example, I remember sitting on a bus in Africa waiting out the bumpy roads as I truly saw the possibilities of how I could inspire my future students. Starring out the window left me full of wonder and possibility even though I never knew when the bus would stop for a bathroom break or when the endless dirt road would turn to the pavement. A 90 miles journey, a two-hour drive in the States was taking over 12 hours as the bus randomly stopped, not for the sake of its passengers, but for the exchange of white cubed packages for a wad of cash. My husband had to point this obvious observation out to me as I was lost in my ideal world of how I could bring these new ideas festering in my mind to my students this coming school year though it was still months away.
Though, in reality, how do you add in all these extras between standards, benchmark, and state testing, and the feeling of wanting to control the classroom, something I was not very good at? My perfectionism wanted quiet and orderly, but the reality was somewhere in between. I worked tirelessly to teach the standards and writing components of the set curriculum fueled by the few days, I had lessons like tea parties before starting a new unit. Kids would get to pretend to be a character from our upcoming novel and go around the room, meeting others, and taking notes. These are the types of days I loved my job and the days the students would talk about later.
And this was the struggle, I found myself in last year when I homeschooled. I found letting go of the “normal” school day to get outside the box and have my kids learn a different way so difficult. It was against everything I’d learned and trained for as a student and a teacher. It’s so easy to stay the steady path that has been paved for you, but as Robert Frost points out in The Road Not Taken each time you come to that fork in the road, those small decisions are going to change the direction of your life.
And so, Frost took the road less traveled, but the title suggests regret as it refers to the road not taken. You need to decide which way you are going to travel. Are you willing to start taking uncomfortable actions to take the road less traveled?
What is one new direction you would want to take? And what fears are holding you back?
So how do we truly start this journey? We have to start moving to take those uncomfortable actions that have caused fear in you in the past. Our bodies are wired to look for dangerous in the wild around us such as sabretooth tigers, which do not exist anymore, but that response in our bodies is so conditioned that if we do not work on it, we can be paralyzed by it, rather than progressing on your journey. Hence, you feel stuck.
It’s that realization that finally got me to make the changes I needed to take the less-traveled road. COVID stopped the world, and I choose to use this pause as a way to find a different me. My friend said to me the other day, I don’t even recognize you anymore not just because of the weight I lost but more so because I lost negative energy, I didn’t even realize I was putting it out. She said that I now have a sparkle in my eyes that shows positivity. I made the decision to start the 75Hard, but more importantly to work on my habits. What this decision ultimately gave to me was a consistency to make the change, a consistency that helped to elevate my fears and make a change.
Now I’ve come to a new fork in the road as I write this blog and look to the business that I am starting and fear stands in front of me.
What is your first course of action than making a change? The first step is to identify your fears? These fears float around in your head as that voice keeps telling you that you are not enough and sadly, that you are not worthy of love. None of this is true, but you must first identify them before anything can change.
My Eeyore tells me
No one will want to read what I write
No one will want to take my course
I won’t be able to provide the right groups for women
I haven’t learned enough to share
I don’t have a good enough plan
I’m too afraid to talk to others
I won’t make any sense if I get in front of a camera
These still look scary on paper but a little less as they get out of your head, and go back to your why. I want to serve women. I want to reach my full potential and not settle. And ultimately, identifying these fears and taking uncomfortable action to get to the other side of them will end this indecision.
I have finally started writing this blog, I did my first Facebook live (after sitting in front of the camera for an hour coming up with every excuse), I have started my first group which has received positive feedback. Action is not easy, but it is truly the only thing that is going to kill those fears.
Last week was massive action for me, putting myself out there, wondering now if I should go hide under a rock or delete my tracks? Each big step forward makes the next one a little bit easier, I won’t hide
for now, and I will also make writing that daily habit as it isn't magic, but a choice to take that action and become more comfortable with it.
As I finished writing this blog, I was in awe as I witnessed a transformation in my daughter. She participated in her first swim meet last weekend. On Saturday, she was a bundle of nerves. When she first started the swim team, she’d talk about not wanting to do meets because she was afraid of how intense they looked. Though at the same time she would declare her aspiration for the Olympics. In her last race, for her, the worst happened, she was disqualified partly because she was thrown off with her goggles falling off. We turned it around by having a celebration lunch for taking action and completing her first day of the meet.
Sunday, I took her down to the meet, and in the car, I made sure to tell her my admiration stems not from how she did in the meet but from her willingness to put in her dedication to complete the day. We talked about if her goggles fell off, she had to keep going. When the breaststroke came around again, once again her goggles came off disorientating her, but this time she kept going and came in second. She took action to face her fears, and each time it gets a little bit easier. Her mindset on Sunday was so much stronger.
Each time we identify our fears, we have the chance to walk through them by taking action.
Action Step: What do you want to change in your life now?
(Look over the Why you have created and the Values you set forth.)
Ask yourself what are all the fears stopping me?
Make a list of all your fears. (Write them down in a journal, type them on a list in your phone as long as you keep them in a spot you can refer back to.)
Then next to each fear write what action you could take to step through that fear.
When you take an action, how did you feel after? Was it as bad as it was in your mind?