My dearest friend and colleague, Aimee wrote a great blog “Where are you looking for change in your life?” In it she wrote “no goals, no change”. It’s a simple thought, yet it’s so true. I have always had a “goal” to study another language, Spanish, and really never did anything about it until just recently.
I collected my courage, had several fierce conversations with myself, and jumped off my cliff into a four week long immersion class in Spanish. So how do you know it’s a cliff? You’ll spend the first week gazing at your reflection in the mirror at 4 am thinking what in the @#&*! am I doing? This will be followed by a litany of victimy thoughts like - I’m not smart enough, I can’t do this, I’m too old for this. However, I hung in. And after four weeks I can now say I speak two languages, one quite well and one very poorly. I also found out that what I took away from this experience went far beyond learning to speak a language.
My first takeaway was that life is a journey (pretty cliché huh?..). When you spend all of your time on the well-traveled highways of life, no matter how wonderful, complex, and rewarding they are, you can give up on the gift of exploration. You no longer test yourself as much mentally and your focus becomes narrower. You accept the easier solution and become self-defined by your successes. Yet, exploration is a vital life force often overlooked. It goes hand-in-hand with fear of failure, pain, and self-doubt. What makes exploring your world extraordinary, isn’t that you succeed or fail, it’s that you wake up. You think differently, with more clarity, passion, and compassion.
This brings me to my second takeaway. You can’t do it alone (I know...another cliché!). Always make sure to appreciate the wonderful network of support you have in your life. When you jump off your cliff, you will find yourself clinging to the gossamer threads of support you receive from your colleagues, friends and family. These become your lifelines as you cascade through your fears. Exploration allows you to re-learn how to be fragile and to trust anew.
My third takeaway is that I can now speak Spanish…very poorly…and I will continue down that path as well. Thank you to Ricardo and Olga, my marvelous teachers. The transformational journey you took me on went far beyond acquiring new language skills. I will always treasure my time with you.
So isn’t it time you scared yourself to death? What do you want to do, that if you did, would change everything?