Why We Shouldn’t Listen to Our Mothers [Love you Mom!]

Giving hints can be one of life’s best gifts. Apparently, life has been trying to get my attention. Over the last 6 months, I’ve heard “just do it” repeated over and over again.  Every culture has many sayings that we’ve been taught since we were toddlers.  Stop me if these sound familiar: If it sounds too good to be true…. Money is the root… Money can’t buy…. Good things come to those who…. Trust your gut.  Fine, fair enough – for some.  But have you ever stopped to really examine if there’s truth behind every saying?  

Something that you might need to know about me is that I am an analyzer, strategizer, deep-thinker – which is all fine, but it also means I’m a second-guesser. Sometimes the second-guessing can be a good thing, and helpful. Second-guessing my assumptions and perceptions can help me understand a different point of view, think more creatively and strategically, or develop new ideas rather than just settle for the same routine. However, when fear is the motivator behind the guessing, the outcome is rarely helpful. Instead, the decision changes to minimizing loss or damage, maintaining control, or pleasing others instead of taking my own preferences into account – and I’ve never experienced these things leading to growth unless it is by acknowledgment of the mistake.  Trusting my gut means it’s going to keep me safe – but safe doesn’t equal growth.

I’ve been working on my “entrepreneurial mind”: the “just do it” mentality. I can’t even explain how deeply this requires me to be vulnerable, creative, authentic – and fearless. Second-guessing has lead to many disasters, especially in business. I can appreciate the wisdom of seeking advice and absolutely the maturity to recognize that you can’t possibly know enough about everything you need to know [so talk to an expert already!] . . . but it’s been helpful for me to analyze my questions. Am I asking unnecessary questions just to make small talk? Am I second-guessing my own creative genius? Is this enabling self-doubt or is this question strategically designed for a specific path of answers? I strive to make every question deliberate, so that it deepens relationships instead of eroding my self-confidence. I push myself so that I’m not stalling because of discomfort.

Fear is one of life’s strongest emotions and it can be paralyzing; I know this far too well. My office space at home is speckled with many sticky notes and reminders – most of which boil down to motivating me to do the things I’m afraid of. I’m not sure if any of us can eliminate fear completely and that isn’t my life goal to do so. What is my life goal? Attack fear every day.

Why do we hear so often that life is too short? It’s apparently too short to have a temper, to hold grudges, to be afraid, to sleep in, to not enjoy or live life to the fullest, or a lot of other things. Last week I had a paradigm shift: I don’t think life is too short; I believe life is too long. There are too many minutes and years in life to live enslaved by fear. It’s too long to not chase after my dreams. It’s too long to avoid pain even though I know that pain will lead to growth. It’s too long to make the easy and wrong decision. This means speaking louder, loving bigger, living unapologetically, sweating more, playing harder, and chasing my dreams with every ounce of ferocity that I have.

I’ve grown up recognizing that the best choice is usually the toughest one to make. At times, that’s lead others to label me as “stubborn” – or determined and persistent, depending on how you look at it. Facing my fears and making extremely difficult decisions based on gut instinct (paired with educated research) has become a familiar tidal wave in my life. I’ve recognized that some of the most game-changing and beneficial opportunities only show up as a small gut feeling, a conversation with a friend, or a small idea in the back of my mind. One thing I’ve grown to have assurance in, however, is that most uber successful people could’ve never predicted the life events that lead them to where they are now. What stays consistent is the action they took. If it feels right, just do it. Just take action. Life is not going to wait for you or me, and we have too many seconds every day to waste them. We have no idea what life-changing journey hinges on us doing the smallest, most mundane task.

My friends, I encourage you to deeply examine what makes you uncomfortable. What do you avoid – why do you avoid it? What things on your to-do list prompt you to accomplish every other item on the list, just to put off those one or two tasks that you know – deep down – you fear. I encourage you to confront what you fear. Fear contains an almost unconscious power – that we don’t notice at all until we closely examine our behavior. And truly, what’s the worst that could happen by attempting “the worst?” Why live a life that’s defined by putting off everything we really want? The only moment we truly have is now, and why make excuses for not having what brings us joy now – except for fear? Be deliberate, be aware, be vibrant and healthy, and live a life designed by your dreams.

Again and always, thank you for reading,

Ashley

Some quotes in my home office:

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” — Reggie Leach

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself.  Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” –Wayne Dyer

“There is little you can learn from doing nothing.”

“Faith is taking the first step even though you don’t see the whole staircase.” –MLK

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie

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