That saying about how you leave a piece of you everywhere you go? It’s true.
In December of 2012, I graduated college as an overwhelmed, under-confident, confused and terrified girl. I knew who I wanted to be but not how to change into that person. I knew what I wanted to do, but not how to achieve it. I knew I wanted to feel alive, but I didn’t know how.
I hopped on a flight–actually I hopped on 19 flights–and every time I left a place, I left a small piece of that insecure and shy and unsure girl. Every time I hopped on a plane, I was different–I gained vision or confidence or fearlessness or a feeling of comfort with who I am. I gained a sense of sureness in me and my judgment and my sense of humor and my decision making. Throughout eight countries, as I fought through talking with strangers and liaising with government officials and learning new languages and teaching, I found my sense of self.
Right now, I don’t feel a pressing need to escape–it’s a new feeling for me, wanting to stay (mostly) put. Whereas I can recall–and have the journal entries to prove–that I was desperate to change and be shaken before, now I’m not. That alone tells me that I’ve made progress.
Do I still have things to work on? I cannot say yes quickly enough! But this isn’t a celebration of my perfection–this is a celebration of my progress.
Now, less than 2 years later (21 months, actually) I wouldn’t recognize that other girl. I am well on my way to being who I want to be, and for the first time ever, I am happy with myself. I achieved what I set out to do. I have never felt more alive. This is my definition of success.
So my advice to anyone who is looking to grow: Do exactly what it is that you’re terrified of. For me, it was leaving my safety net and having to make decisions by myself. Throw yourself into those situations that you think will leave you paralyzed with fear.
I promise that you will surprise yourself. …I certainly did.