Okay, okay, I admit it: I have a tendency to overthink things. I think … and think … and think things to death. I think so much that I find lots of reasons, lots of risks to keep me from acting on my dreams.
Recently I was talking to a friend about a dream I’ve been pursuing [more on that later]. Once again, trepidations were getting the best of me, and I turned to her for advice. Bless her soul, she used a simple metaphor that shed light on the situation–a great big searchlight-sized beam of light. She said, “Melissa, if you wanted to be a runner, would you ask a runner if you had what it takes to be a runner?”
Probably, I thought. Surprisingly I didn’t know where she was headed with this point.
“The only way you’ll ever truly know if you’re a runner,” she put it in a nutshell, “is to just start running!”
Just start running?, I contemplated. It sounded simple enough–if not a little vague and altogether terrifying.
Turns out that was just what I needed to hear. I didn’t need outside opinions: I am, after all, the resident expert on all things me. What I needed was to give it whirl. To try it on for size. To dip my feet in the water and see how it felt.
Try. Just try.
All this time, I had been running from failure, running from what others would think of me. But what I ran from, in the end, was living the life I had dreamed. I thought I had sidestepped failure. But I had, in fact, failed. I had failed to be true to myself. The sadness and longing I carried was proof of that and a constant reminder.
So it was then that I decided to forge ahead–maybe not full-speed at first, but ahead none the less.
As I write this, I am still “running.” I’m still trying on the hat I dreamed of wearing, and I’m loving every moment of the journey–this crazy, delightful, invigorating journey. Sometimes I still get twinges of self-doubt, but I’m not letting that hold me back. And you know what? No matter where this journey leads me, I know I’ll be better off for having taken the risk.