The other night I confessed to my girls that I have an upcoming event that scares me. I won't be performing or hosting; I’ll be facilitating a session at an annual conference for minority accountants. I’m excited because I want speaking platforms outside of poetry gigs, but I’m also a bit nervous because this is unchartered territory for me. I’m uncomfortable, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know these fearful spaces are exactly where we need to be to move forward.
There’s a quote that says, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” I had to grow to understand what this really meant. Most of our dreams require us to embark on unchartered territory. We are often exploring the unknown and taking a leap of faith. That is indeed scary. I’m being transparent by sharing this as I’m going through it. I need to remind myself what I’ve done before and what I need to do now to navigate this natural fear of pursuing the unknown.
Commit before you talk yourself out of it. If people only knew the conversations I have in my head. I’m an over-thinker. I burden myself with possibilities of what could go wrong and thoughts of inadequacy. However, when it comes to things that scare me, or mandated tasks I don’t really like, I usually commit or jump-in before I get a chance to drown my energy in doubt and excuses. (This is probably why I have to work out in the morning.) Say yes, and navigate your emotions on the back end. I took this speaking engagement not knowing what I would share, but I knew I could share, so I said yes, and I’m working it out. I believe it’s coming along quite nicely by the way.
Don’t wait to have all the answers. This is two-fold. Sometimes we don’t make moves because we can't see how everything will work out (lack of faith). Other times we stay stagnant because others question how everything will work out (lack of vision). Faith doesn’t work by sight. When YOU have been given a vision or opportunity, don’t wait to figure everything out or for everyone around you to agree, take that leap of faith. I knew I had something to contribute to this conference, although I wasn’t sure what that would be. If I waited until I knew, I would have missed the opportunity. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, that’s how you grow.
Preparation is key. Faith without works is dead, so we can’t expect to take a leap of faith without self-preparation. Because I knew writing was something I wanted to do professionally, I immediately got business cards and built an online presence within the first year (website, social media, youtube, etc.). I attended every poetry event I learned about, started a blog, attended workshops, sought out like-minded individuals and spent two years saving my income. You must prepare for opportunities and be ready to create your own. Preparation looks different for everyone. For this event, I jotted down ideas as soon as I was selected which worked out perfectly when they asked me for a workshop synopsis a month in advance. What are you doing daily, weekly, and long term to prepare for the unknown?
At the end of the day, we all have a purpose. If you are operating in it and you’ve been given a vision, own it. Trust your work and ability and know that God will provide. I was listening to the podcast Motivation for Black People when the guest, James Bland said, “When the need increases, the provision also increases.” When you make a decision and take action in alignment with your purpose, the world will adjust, and God WILL give you EXACTLY what you need. Give Him the chance to show you what He can do when you boldly operate in your calling.
I know I'm not the only one, navigating fear. I'd love to know what you do to keep yourself going. Let me know in the comments below!