Love or Fear?

I'm Katy

Here I spill the tea on balancing hustle and heart with tips and tricks for thriving in business while taking care of yourself, because success is best served with a side of serenity!

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Recently, my husband and I had a discussion about this very question.

The conversation reminded me of a commencement speech given by Jim Carey about those two very heavy words. It popped up in my Facebook feed like the Universe knew I needed to see it. You should watch, it’s definietly worth it. (If you don’t have a full 25 minutes, fast forward to 9:20)

He talks about doing something you don’t absolutely love for a living and masking it as practicality.

This is a foreign concept to me now, but I’ve certainly been here. I’ve worked lots of jobs; banking, bartending, customer service, soldier.

Luckily, I have had the opportunity to try many things without too much fear of failing. And I have never been accused of being practical.

I am not quite sure where my lack of fear comes from; it’s not like my parents were the ones saying “you can be anything you want to be.” They were more the type to say “the harder you work, the better person you’ll be.” That is certainly not a dig on either one of them but I also didn’t enter my adult life with stars in my eyes.

I have never wanted for a whole lot, but I have worked a job every single day of my life since I was 15 years old. I spent half of my high school upperclass days working as a bank teller. For a few years following, I did what seemed like the “right” thing, working my way up to a successful personal banker/mortgage lender.

That did NOT work out. Think round hole, square peg. I tried lots more things on, nothing seem to fit.

But, somewhere along the way I just stopped being afraid of doing what I loved. And, I remember the very moment.

I’ll take you back quite a few years. February 22, 2002 to be exact. In hindsight, the date had no significance, but 02.02.2002 will go down in my life history. For a numbers girl, it’s a pretty bad ass date.

My maternal grandfather, Imbert (Bert), had passed away a few months earlier. He was a Lt. Col. in the Army and a high school teacher, receiving two purple hearts during his service in WWII, among many other commendations in his military career. Whether it was his passing, the post-9/11 climate, my personal discontent or a little bit of all of it, I enlisted in the Army National Guard on that cold day in February.

And I didn’t tell a soul.

I took that $3,000 signing bonus which had me leaving town in 3 weeks, quit my job, packed my rucksack and started the first thing in my life I had ever truly done by myself. Before that day, I hardly went to the bathroom alone. For real. ENFP, right here.

I just got this bug up my ass to sign the papers. And, my friends, when you sign those Army papers there’s no changing your mind. You’re in it to win it. So off I went. My main objective was to keep my head down, shut my mouth and follow direction. (For those of you that have known me all of my life, this was really an unattainable goal. You can stop your laughing now.)

Army basic training.
South Carolina.
Fire ants.
And a ditch.

In a ditch, doing push ups as punishment for God knows what. No one knew. We just knew we were being screamed at and there was no where else to go. There were some criers and some pukers and one very pissed off Wesconsin girl (that’s not a typo…southerners cannot say the Wis in Wisconsin).

Oh, man was I pissed. I was drenched and sweaty and tired and chafed and homesick. I will never forget it. In that moment, when I wanted to give up and cry and puke and quit and rebel and scream, something came over me.

This is not going to last forever.

My left brain started working, “They can’t keep us out here forever. They have to feed us. We have to sleep. Night will pass, morning will arrive. And, I will eventually go home.” All of the wisdom of my short 23 years taught me that, literally and figuratively, nothing lasts forever. Good, great, bad, fugly.

Nothing. Lasts. Forever.

In that moment, the word “forever” took on a new meaning. Forever is only as long as you need it to be to learn the lesson it provides. I followed the drill sergeant’s commands, did my pushups, sit ups, ran hills and whatever else was asked of me that night.

I stopped being pissed.

And sure enough, just like that, it stopped. We got back in to formation, went to the showers, crawled in our bunks and I fell into a deep, restful sleep.

In the many years since then, there are times I remember that day and other times I wallow in my own self-inflicted forever. I am human after all.

But what Jim Carey, of all people (in that silly robe and hat they made him wear) reminded me of today is that if you’re not afraid, and you are doing what you think you are meant to do, where is the actual risk? Who defines your failure but you?

I have been called a risk taker, among many other “colorful” things. I don’t see myself that way, but nonetheless, some people perceive me that way. I just know that whatever I am doing, if I don’t love it, I won’t do it. Period. I might try, but if my heart’s not in it, neither is my mind.

We can make just as much money doing something we love (probably more) than doing something we are like, “meh, it’s fine.” All we have to do is find the door. And then, of course, walk though it, but that’s for another day.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been afraid. Afraid of putting my physical and emotional self “out there”. Afraid of opinions, judgements, feedback. But I refuse to get stuck in that ditch again with someone barking orders at me.

On days like today, where the sun is shining, the bees are buzzing on flowers, the kids are bopping down the driveway off the bus, I find fear to be the last thing on my mind. I look around to cherish every sun ray stretched across the cornfields, the kittens slumbering peacefully on the warm patio blocks and two crazy dogs chasing each other around the yard.

For every yin there is a yang. Up and down. In and out. None of this is to say there aren’t challenges in the world and that everything is peaches and cream around here. But, just for today, choose love, not fear.

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i write therefore i am.

Hi, I'm Katy.
Your lifestyle designer and business mentor.

Writing is my way of unwinding and letting my thoughts roam free. Every so often, in the midst of this creative chaos, something clicks, and I'm like, "Hmm, maybe someone else will dig this too." So, I toss it out into the world, hoping it lands with someone who gets it.
I hope that's you.

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