I recently stumbled across this quote from Anais Nin.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
I haven’t read much of Nin’s work. She is known for her female erotica, as well as the journals she kept from the age of eleven which are detailed and reveal much about her life and relationships. She was born to Cuban parents and then resided in Paris before World War II forced her to leave France for New York City. She died of cancer in 1977, I believe.
The random facts I remember from college…
This quote struck me because of its validity. Our lives unfold in a way that is directly related to the risks we are willing to take, the courage we are willing to display. We always have a choice. We can stay where we are, comfortable and complacent. Or, we can step out of our comfort zone where things might get all shaken up and moved around. It can be a scary place, outside of that comfort zone, but once the dust settles, we tend to find ourselves exactly where we are meant to be.
Yesterday, at the barre studio, I overheard someone say “if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
I bet you have heard that before, haven’t you? I sure have. Many times over. It’s true, though.
It’s not just dreams like owning your own business or publishing a novel that are scary. It can also be the idea of putting yourself out there. Of asking a boy on a date. Of blindly calling up a company you want to work for and asking for an information interview.
It can be as simple as working up the courage to go an audition to teach barre.
Personally, I feel I’m pretty good at taking risks. I moved to Tennessee, first to Knoxville and then to Nashville, without knowing a soul. I have no qualms about emailing or calling someone and asking them to coffee or lunch if I want to learn more about their company or an interest they have. I was absolutely and completely terrified to audition to teach barre.
I took the risks though. I made my best friends in Knoxville, had once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Nashville. I have gotten to know so many great people and had so many opportunities, just by asking to get coffee. And barre? Who would have thought back in February, when I was shaking with nerves (and maybe some muscle fatigue during thighs…) that I would end up falling in love with teaching and the local fitness community?
As fearless as I can be, there are other things I haven’t taken the risk to do. I haven’t sent that thing I wrote off to anyone to see if it’s worth publishing because, you know, they might tell me they hate it. I haven’t asked out a guy I like because – I’m awkward. And, you know, rejection. Again. I have only thought about a couple of projects I want to accomplish because what if they fail? Once more, rejection.
See a pattern, here?
The more life I live, the more I realize how true Nin’s quote is. The more risks we take, the more courage we display, the greater our life unfolds.
Perhaps its time to take the deep breath and take the risk. For me, that may mean asking a guy on a date. Or finally sending that word document off to someone who can actually tell me whether it’s good. I did take the first steps two days ago to bring one of the many ideas and projects floating around in my head to life.
For you, that may mean leaving a job with a comfy salary in favor of starting a non-profit. It may mean packing your bags and moving to that foreign country that calls out to your heart. Or maybe its asking that entrepreneur you admire to grab a glass of wine.
Is there something you want to do? Something that you daydream about, but can up with a dozen reasons as to why its a bad idea or why you don’t have time for it or why you financially shouldn’t shell out the $12 a month for hosting the website might cost?
Just do it.
Take the risk.
See what happens.
When the dust settles, you will be where you are supposed to be.