Courage comes when you least expect it.
I spent years being a highly fearful person. On the outside no one knew how much fear bubbled below the carefully constructed surface, but it was brewing and gaining intensity.
I spent my 20s in the corporate world. I had a great job and was continuing to rise up the ladder. I worked in San Francisco then in New York City. It all looked good from the outside, but when I would close the door to my office and stare out the window at my gorgeous views, I was miserable. I had an unreasonable and unshakable fear of making phone calls and generally talking on the phone, however my job depended on it. I was a recruiter and my daily, relentless task was to talk on the phone to people… a lot of people. The fear grew with each passing year as I also began to fear that I would be “found out.” I worked harder than any of my peers because I had to find creative (wasteful) ways to avoid the phone yet still perform my job.
After seven years the stress clearly showed in my health. I turned to both a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and an acupuncturist for help in relieving the plethora of health issues and anxiety that plagued me.
Acupuncture ended up being a solution not only for my anxiety and stress-induced health issues, but it also ended up being my “out” from the corporate world. I left that world, attended four years of graduate school and became an acupuncturist and business owner.
The years passed, and as my network of fellow women business owners grew I realized that this was the demographic I wanted to work with. I loved spending time with them solving problems and brainstorming ideas. They were true gifts to the world, but they didn’t always know it. I wanted to find a way to serve these women but with my background, I wasn’t sure how I could help.
In a huge hit of inspiration, and overwhelmed by my desire to find a way to work with women entrepreneurs, I made the life-changing decision to complete an item on my bucket list which was to write and publish a book before I was 40 years old. But it wasn’t going to be just any book. I wanted to interview over one hundred female entrepreneurs to find out what makes them successful, how they integrate family and work and the role models in their lives that inspired them. I made the commitment.
It was a grand undertaking since I wanted to do all the interviews and write the book based on my findings within one year while caring for my toddler and running my business. Before the project kicked off, I suddenly realized, “Oh crap! I have to actually speak to over 100 women on the phone. What have I gotten myself into?”
Why this didn’t dawn on me before, I’m not entirely sure, but at that point I had announced it to the world and had begun to reach out to strangers for introductions and interviews via email.
Courage is a beautiful thing. But I believe you must have some significant reason, something you love, some internal motivation to summon it. If you don’t have a heart-based reason to face your fears, you won’t have the drive to do so.
Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart,” and when you view courage that way you realize what a gift it is to yourself and to the world as well.
When I took on this challenge I knew in my heart I had to do it. I was so passionate, not only about the topic but also my dream of writing a book, that I mustered up the courage from the depths of my being to turn this dream into a reality. As a result, I have a beautiful book, I met amazing and inspiring women from all over the world, I started a new company, I have no fear of speaking on the phone (I actually look forward to it) and I was invited to speak at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.
All of these amazing things occurred because I followed my heart and allowed courage to be my companion on this amazing journey.