2013 was a year of pulse-pounding, sweaty-palmed discomfort, and consequently, extraordinary amounts of self growth. Being brave enough to shatter beliefs about my own limits was one of the most powerful commitments I have ever made to myself.
Here are a few things I learned:
1) “Believe In Your Flyness, Conquer Your Shyness” - Yeezy
We’ve all heard it before - our biggest enemy can be ourselves. Growing up a painfully shy child (my preschool teacher had to have a talk with my parents about me not speaking with any other kids in the class), it has been a lifelong struggle to find my voice and, as Yeezy puts it, conquer my shyness. The best way to conquer anything, from climbing Everest to overcoming a fear, is simply to take it one step at a time. This for me was practicing speaking up in front of groups of 40+ people on a daily basis and not only writing but actually publishing my writing. It meant owning my thoughts and believing in the importance and value of what I had to say. When you express thoughts and ideas you have to the world, you begin convincing your worst critic (yourself) specifically and uniquely why you are so very fly. Each time you chip away at fears by forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, you expand it. And, most importantly, begin believing in your own flyness.
2) ”Choose Growth, Over Perfection” - Amber Rae
Society demands perfection, from shining the spotlight on “perfect” grades or the “perfect” body. While societal definitions of “perfection” are thrust upon us, we must be mindful about how a sterile view of perfection can actually hold us back. Whether it is waiting too long for the “perfect” idea or the “perfect” soulmate, unexamined standards of perfection can lead to painful downfalls. The truth is - growth is the only thing that ever can get you close to perfection. Growth is messy. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable. It’s humbling. It’s downright chaotic at times, but it is the only thing that leads to what perfection falsely promises: satisfaction. An empty pursuit of perfection for its own sake is dangerously misleading, but a mindful and deliberate choice to grow and learn is what ultimately breaths meaning into life.
3) “No One Knows What They Are Doing” - Alexis Ohanion
With the exception of Bruce Lee. A refreshingly honest perspective in a world full of “experts”. Don’t ever be afraid to not do something because you aren’t 100% sure you know what you’re doing. In fact, most people don’t. Not even the President of the United States (as history so clearly has shown us time and again). The only way to get closer to knowing what you are doing, is doing it. No one always produces No. 1 hits (not even Beyoncé). No one has a crystal ball. No one consistently makes the best decisions. No one is infallible. So embrace your own imperfect, ignorant self and get out there and do what you want to be good at. Only through doing, making mistakes, and growing will you eventually at least look like you know what you are doing enough to achieve your goals. Doing things you aren’t 100% sure about should be the standard, not the exception.
2013 taught me the value of a thick skin and continuing to embrace discomfort and uncertainty in exchange for self growth. Here, I leave you with words from a man far wiser than I:
"Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.”
- Oh, The Places You Will Go! by Dr. Seuss