Don't Be a Scaredy-cat

It's time to put those fears aside and follow your passions. 

by claudia stagg • Member { View Profile }

I have done something disgraceful. Horrific. Beyond the pale.

Up until a few years ago, I was a bit of a scaredy-cat, especially when it came to taking risks and reaching new heights in my life.

I don’t think I’ll ever sky dive, and you won’t find me on a zip line. Chances are, you won’t see me parasailing — although I do have a pact with one of my BFFs that we’ll both try it once we lose 20 pounds. Lucky for me, that hasn’t happened yet. Hmmm, let me think about that one.

Two years ago yesterday, my life started to reach new heights, however, when I left a 32-year career on my own free will. I surprised myself when I made my decision to leave in less than four weeks’ time, with no plan, and with two kids who were not yet out of high school. After all, I usually played it safe.

Never before did I feel as strongly as I did about taking this risk — albeit calculated — due to an anticipated dive in my corporate retirement savings. So, with healthy trepidation, confidence and excitement, I left the corporate world I knew for decades and have never looked back.

A bit fearful of my new life at first, I tip toed into this new world and started to think about what I wanted to do on my next adventure. At the time, I had three passions:

  • Write
  • Inspire women to step out of their comfort zones
  • Build a small business

By July, I had created a blog to follow Passions #1 and #2 so I could write about women who are reinventing themselves. Since then, there’s been almost 250 blogs. Many have been published in here. When I re-read some of them, I sometimes say, ”Hey, I’m pretty good.”

In two years, I’ve lifted boxes and dusted shelves at 6 a.m. at the Container Store, and have written blogs for an industry I knew nothing about. I am currently selling tea at Teavana, and may pick up a second part-time job too to help make ends meet.

While I haven’t gained much financially, I have learned new things that money cannot buy. Chances are I’ll have more jobs like these in the future while I work on Passion #3.

Sometimes I wonder whether I should make an aggressive effort to go back to work full-time. Financially, that would make the best sense. So I regularly check websites for jobs that sound appealing, but don’t go beyond that. My heart and soul are telling me to continue to follow my passions.

I recently attended a networking luncheon for women. The keynote speaker was Carin Rockind, who calls herself the ultimate happiness consultant. Carin is one of only 250 people who have a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Carin talked about what truly makes us happy. Her philosophy is simple: “We each have a unique purpose on earth, and we’d be happier if we were living it!”

Carin’s speech was the affirmation I needed yesterday to validate what I know to be true. And so, as I begin my third year on my new journey, I ask the same question former Mayor Ed Koch often asked his fellow New Yorkers — “How’m I Doin’?” and I say to myself: “Just fine.”

What are your passions? Are you following them? Don’t be a scaredy-cat!


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