As I look back at 2014, I look back at a year that has honestly been the most rollercoaster of a year that I’ve ever had. Filled with some serious high points, major challenges and some serious lows, including watching some people that I love overcome major challenges and hurdles.
Even with all the challenges, curveballs and forks in the road, I feel a sense of optimism that wasn’t present back in 2010 (arguably the roughest year of my life). I feel fortunate that I’m learning these lessons (as hard as they are) in my 20s instead of one, two or three decades from now. The single, greatest fear that pushes me to get gutsy and jump out of my comfort zone every day is the fear that I am going to wake up 20, 30 or 40 years from now wondering what the hell I have been doing all these years.
If there is one thing that became abundantly clear in the past 365 days is that time is our most precious commodity. Life is measured by the relationships we have built and experiences we have had, not by all the hours worked or all the material things we have bought and collected.
Because of all that, I didn’t set any resolutions on New Year’s. The majority of resolutions get dropped by the middle of January anyway. Instead, I am after developing habits and goals to purse an overall theme. I feel like my overall theme already started middle of last year. That theme for 2015 is to be more present and vulnerable in the moment.
As Author and Blogger, Paul Jarvis says, “To have courage is to be vulnerable.”
I realize to many of you this might still look like it’s a weakness. Up until this past year, I would have agreed. I always thought I had to be confident, be in control, hide my emotions and not ask for help a lot as it would be viewed as a sign of weakness. You know what? I repeatedly failed because I wasn’t being true to myself. I was going through life wearing a fake persona to be everything that everyone else wanted me to be. In hindsight, I now realize I was destined for failure and unhappiness.
I realize I did all of this as a way to protect myself from being who I truly am. It’s scary to get gutsy, be in a vulnerable state and put your true identity out there for the entire world to see (and judge). Just writing and publishing this post is absolutely terrifying. So is all the times over the last couple of months where I’ve confided super personal things or asked for help and guidance from a handful of friends and mentors.
I am the first one to admit choosing to be more present and vulnerable in the moment isn’t always easy. It can be downright uncomfortable. I’m a pretty sensitive, introverted type and wear my heart on my sleeve (a.k.a. I cry easily) for better or worse. Namely, when I am super passionate about something.
For example, I’ve cried at work a few times. I’ve cried in front of my boss more than once. I’ve even cried in a meeting. I used to be incredibly embarrassed by this and try to hide it by doing things that probably made the situation 10x more awkward and embarrassing. And, I slowly realized I’m not crying because I’m throwing a temper tantrum for not getting my own way like a toddler crying in a toy store. I’m crying because I’m super passionate about something. And, while some people’s coping mechanisms are to raise their voice/get louder, instead I get teary-eyed.
Life is measured by the relationships we have built and experiences we have had, not by all the hours worked or all the material things we have bought and collected.
But, that’s just one example. Another example that’s way more prevalent is being gutsy enough to show my “real moments” on social media. Sites, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Linkedin put our lives on show for everyone to see. It’s natural to want to self-censor and only show the “highlight reel” – the best of the best moments. It’s been so engrained in my psyche that I don’t even stop to second guess it until I see a post that is so incredibly raw. I’m thankful for friends and mentors like Jess Lawlor, Sydney Williams, and Justin Levy (just to name a few). who show that it’s okay to be raw and unfiltered from time to time online.
I know none of this is going to be easy, heck nothing worth having rarely is. I know deep down this new push to be more present and vulnerable in the moment will allow me to be so much happier and fulfilled in the long run.
What are you doing to be more Gutsy this year? I want to hear from each and every one of you. Please leave a comment below or email me directly here.
***Special thanks to Jess Lawlor for being my trusted editor in this post! ***
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.