Tonight was the first time in my life that I wasn’t afraid to fly. What I realized is that I wasn’t afraid to die anymore.
In a way, we’re all afraid of death. I never realized that I was afraid to die until just recently. And I wasn’t really afraid of death. I was afraid of being forgotten. Of not making an impact in this world. Of not making this world a better place.
Today, I have to tell you that that fear is gone. I just started feeling like I’m making a difference, and I’ve never been more focused & on purpose. I’ve never done anything that people simply loved the moment that I said what I did. I’ve never been more true to myself & my values.
Today I boarded my delayed by an hour flight & was light and at peace. Today my soul recognized that I’m on the right path. Today I didn’t grip the seat’s armrests fearfully. Today I relaxed into the takeoff & turbulence & change of course & landing.
It is not about my running the magazine. It’s about why I’m doing what I’m doing, and about the lives that I’m impacting with the magazine. I presented the magazine at a conference in NYC, and I had the chance to speak with so many people, a lot of them women, and each one liked the idea. Some, absolutely loved it. Some even said thank you. Some said thank you to such a degree that they’ve made me cry with gratitude from finally having somebody recognize the impact and the implications of this magazine & what it means for women’s lives in the English-speaking world. I cried. A cathartic cry that let me enjoy my work and let me accept that people actually like what I do. I cried with gratitude for the amazing gift this person has given me, the gift of recognition & appreciation. This is the most amazing gift I’ve received since starting the magazine.
The fear of death is not about dying. The fear of death is being afraid of being forgotten. We all die. We are born, we live, then we die. What most of us are afraid of is dying without living & most significantly, leaving something significant behind. I was dying without leaving something significant behind. Most people have children, and in that way they achieve a sort of immortality. Without children, how can you become immortal? Big names like Shakespeare, Mozart, Beethoven, Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Neil Armstrong, Jane Austin, Hillary Clinton, all get recognized and get carried with the wave of history due to their impact on science, music, literature, politics, etc.. But we’re not all like them. We’re not all going to be the next Einstein. We’re not all going to be the next Hillary Clinton. We should.
I believe that all of us have this major untapped potential to impact the world in a very significant way. I believe that we’re all capable of achieving immortality.
So why aren’t we all famous & why isn’t the world a better place yet?
I could keep going with the “fear” answer & it would be as correct and as valid of an answer time and time again.
So why fear? What is it about fear that makes us die inside, makes us give up our dreams and just live ordinary lives, lives we’d never thought we’d live? What is it about fear that is so paralyzing?
Have you ever stopped and wondered why you’re afraid? Why aren’t you doing the things that you wanted to do? Why are you letting yet another dream die the death of “someday”? The “someday I will do this”, “someday I will take on this challenge”… Fear is paralyzing, and we run to our comfortable places and we hide in the known, and we hide in the oh, so comfortable space that we’ve built for ourselves that doesn’t challenge us & doesn’t ask us for more.
It breaks my heart to hear people say “someday”. I feel them dying inside. I feel them giving up on their dreams and hopes and just settling into their comfortable work, home, work, dinner, movie, schedules. It breaks me.
It breaks me to hear women not ask for promotions from fear of being denied and being put on a “she’s asking for too much” list. It’s not a common thing, but it’s been said to me. I’m tired of hearing men and women alike say “someday”. Someday I’ll go on that vacation. Someday I’ll ask this person out, someday I’ll get a divorce. Someday I’ll apply for that job. Someday I’ll start my own business. Someday I’ll run for office.
There is no someday! Someday doesn’t exist. What exists is today & now. There is no tomorrow. Not to scare you and bring on the fear, but we can die now, in the next 5 minutes, in the next hour, in the next 24 hours. Are you ready for that? I wasn’t.
I was afraid of dying because I felt like I could have just slipped into the embrace of the universe without leaving anything of significance behind. I was afraid of dying because I’ve made compromise after compromise with my goals and ideals and I kept choosing safety over self-expression. I kept choosing familiar versus the unknown. I hear you! I’ve done exactly what you’ve been doing. No more!
Following your dreams requires cojones! Yeah, you know what I mean. Not the literal kind. The soul kind. Following your dreams requires gumption. It requires self-knowledge & self-reliance.
Living a true life means taking some steps into the unknown, for the known path is not your path. The known path is for those that are still finding themselves, are still in search of their dreams & in search of meaning. We need the comfortable path of college and the first job and the first group of friends. And during that time, we need to start looking out for the person in the mirror. Finding ourselves is our toughest job on this trip called life. And believe me, it’s a trip. It’s not about the destination. We know where and how it’s going to end. We will die. It’s not about that. It’s about living our lives fully, loving our lives fully & fulfilling the destiny we were born to.
Fear is an irrational feeling. Fear is about a future that most likely will never come to pass. Fear is about something that is not under our control. Fear is what happens when you have lost confidence in yourself. Fear is when you’ve lost confidence in the world.
One of the women that I’ve interviewed is a jet dragster race car driver and a two-time World Champion at that. She’s not a risk taker. She’s a race car driver, in a highly dangerous sport, but she’s not a risk taker. She lowers the risk factors to the most minimum that she can possibly lower them, and then she jumps in! Once you’ve eliminated the risks that you can control, there’s nothing but the drive to jump. So you either jump, or you don’t. She does. Every time. And she grows wings on her way down.
When was the last time you jumped into something? When was the last time you looked at what could happen, eliminated the irrational fears, eliminated the risks that you had any control over, and then just jumped? Have you ever done that? Have you actually ever taken a risk? Is there something that has pulled you so hard forward that you just had to do it? Yes? Ok. Good. Now remember that feeling. Take a moment and feel that. Take a moment to re-experience that amazing rush of adrenaline and “high” from knowing you are doing the right thing for you.
Steve Harvey said that you have to jump, and when you do jump, you jump off the highest cliff you know, without wings. That’s the scary part. The fear of failing, and not making it, financially, emotionally, professionally. The actual fear of dying on impact. Some people have nothing else to lose and they jump into the unknown of their futures because they can’t live without knowing what could happen if they don’t follow their dreams. You cannot soar without jumping.
I jumped. I had to jump. My soul was dying from too much compromise. My heart was covered in layer upon layer of regret & disappointment with the world. It wasn’t about the world. It was about my own choices and compromises within the world.
I jumped off the highest cliff I’ve ever climbed. I eliminated as much risk as I could. Then I jumped. There’s still risk. A lot of it. Can I manage it? YES. Can I find solutions for the risk factors that still remain, even after I take care of the ones that I can safely mediate right now? I’m sure that I can find a way.
I’ve jumped a while back, and the wind is still fiercely swishing by my face, my hair is still whipping back, and I have the bruises and the scars to prove how many times I’ve been hurled at the rock face. I’m still bleeding in a few spots. Might be bleeding for a while. The ground is still coming at me fast.
I jumped. Something new is happening now. I’m starting to feel myself growing wings. I feel my back expanding into expansive cartilaginous extremities, slowly sprouting bright white feathers that are starting to slow my fall. I’m starting to feel the lowered pull of the crushing gravity. I’m starting to breathe. I’m starting to feel the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. It’s surprising. I have more responsibility now than I’ve ever had, yet, I’m lighter than air. I’m responsible for the fate of women in business. Not really, but I’ve kinda’ve taken that on. I live for this now. There’s nothing else. There’s air, and this jump into the unknown. And I’ve never been happier…
Tell me you don’t what this. Tell me you don’t understand that this is how you live fully. Tell me you don’t feel the same about your dream and I’ll stop asking you to be brave.
Tell me you don’t want to live to your full potential and I’ll stop asking you to be brave.
Tell me you don’t want to soar, in full bright light, no fear, just you loving the world and the world loving you back. Tell me, and I’ll stop asking you to be brave.
But until you do, I’m going to ask. Until you ask me to stop, I’ll ask you to listen to yourself and to your dreams and to whatever thoughts and ideas that make you happy, and I’m going to demand that you listen to that & that you follow that.
Fear is not real.
I promise you’ll grow wings on the way down. There will be bruises. There might even be some broken bones, but you will not die. You’ll grow the wings that will take you up, soaring in the warm sun rays of a gentle summer evening.
Believe in yourself. I DO! The Universe does! Call it god, or God, or the Universe, or unicorns, or magic. Call it quantum physics. There is something here that unites all life, that if you believe in yourself enough, it’s going to make your dreams manifest. You have the entire universe wanting to help.
JUMP off the highest cliff, and stop looking back. There is no past. There is no future. There is only now. Be present within yourself. Be true to yourself. Be loving towards yourself. Make yourself known to the world.
The highest crime is hiding from your true greatness.
I got you. The universe has you. YOU HAVE YOU! There is nothing like living your true self, living your true calling, living your most honest self.
*Disclaimer. I don’t mean for you to jump off a physical cliff in real life without a parachute! You will not grow wings, as best as I know. You might, but then more power to you. I don’t mean for you to jump off anything in real life that will put your health or life in danger. This jumping I encourage is a metaphorical jump into your life’s dreams and goals. That, I support and encourage you to do as soon as you can. Life is too short to wait around anymore.