Becoming an entrepreneur meant leaping into the world of unknowns. However, we as a species have proven we aren't naturally wired to be comfortable with uncertainty. When we didn't have answers, we used to tell stories of mystical gods like Zeus to explain the unknown sky. Naturally, we want to believe that we can control our lives and understand our world.
I am no different than anyone else, I dislike uncertainty and I want to feel in control. However, I believe that becoming more comfortable with the unknown is a practiced skill and a necessary one in order to live a conscious life, especially when diving into entrepreneurship.
In the early exploratory days of forming White Dahlia Design, I stood outside of a local HomeSense with a clipboard asking people entering and leaving to speak with me about my "crazy" business idea. The fear of rejection was real, most people were quite kind but it was definitely out of my comfort zone. I dreaded those days but in the end, some of my earliest clients who I now consider friends came from that experience. What I learned is that we are all capable of pushing past our fears and that the best outcomes are usually on the other side. This is why my motto now is to never let fear hold me back from things that I want in life.
Often I find our fear of uncertainty puts us into little boxes where our view of what is possible becomes limited. But once you push past it, you realize that it truly wasn't as hard as you thought and that you could do it again. Maybe it was the thought that you could never pack up and move to a new city or even a new country. I'm willing to bet, however, once you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone you were proud of your achievement, and to do it again seemed much easier. Incidences, where we push through fear and uncertainty, expands our views of what we are capable of.
I realized that my fear of heights and drowning were two of those things for me. I've always loved the idea of surfing and mountain climbing. Although the fear of heights and drowning are very rational human fears, they were still fears preventing me from exploring my curiosities. That's why at the age of 31 I took adult swim lessons at our local rec center. I found myself amongst newcomers to Canada jumping in a pool while our 17-year-old instructor cheered us on. It's also why I decided to jump out of a plane when my husband and I were in New Zealand. Surprisingly even scarier than skydiving was when we took a white water rafting trip and there was a pit stop at a waterfall. The deal was if you climbed up to the waterfall, you would have to jump off since it was the only safe route down. I sat on a rock while I watched the other guests jump off one by one (of course my husband was the first). Then at the last moment, I climbed up, life jacket in tow, and took the plunge. I still remember my husband cheering at the top of his lungs when it felt like I was stepping off to my death.
I can't say that I no longer fear heights or brave all the waves when surfing and I still feel a prang of panic now and then when I swim "too far" from the cottage dock. However, there is nothing that beats the sense of freedom when your fears no longer have a grip on your ability to explore.
I'm constantly discovering these little boxes that I still put myself in. A couple of years ago we were invited to a wedding in South Africa. I instantly got excited but then my initial thought was we could never go to Africa, it seemed beyond our reach both mentally and financially. Even already having visited 34 countries by then, that still was my first thought. I equate my instant change in thought process to "but wait, why not?" because of practicing challenging my fears.
Living life consciously takes training and I have to constantly remind myself to see the little boxes that still constrain me. What are the inner narratives that hold you back? What box do you wish to push out of so that you can explore your curiosities? - Gloria