Let The Waves Come: Choosing Fear Over Regret

Let The Waves Come: Choosing Fear Over Regret | Jennifer Diaz | Hand Lettering by  Amy May Paper

Let The Waves Come: Choosing Fear Over Regret | Jennifer Diaz | Hand Lettering by Amy May Paper

Today marks 5 years since I took one of the biggest, scariest, most uncertain leaps of faith in my life. Working for myself was never my plan, especially at age 23. I even remember telling someone once that I'd never want to be self-employed. I figured it would be too much pressure, too scary, and not stable enough.

And I was right.

Sometimes, it's really hard. Self-doubt plagues me on a regular basis. Fear rears its ugly and persuasive head daily. And questions like, "Do I even know what I'm doing? What if I fail? Will I be able to sustain a life like this?" enter my mind frequently.

When I took that step, I didn't have much time to think. I wasn't able to weigh the pros and cons, or create an exit plan that made logical sense. Although I had frequently prayed for a solution, including the morning of, I never imagined one would present itself so suddenly. After all, I estimated God's timing took about twice as long as I usually preferred, so I figured I had a while. I was wrong, as the opportunity presented itself that very afternoon, and suddenly I had a matter of seconds to decide, "do I stay here, being unfulfilled and unhappy, or do I walk towards an unknown, but hopeful future?" I was afraid to the point of physically shaking, but fortunately doubt had no time to take over. Instead, I felt a sense of peace as I stepped out.

I was going through some things in my office not long ago and I found a sheet of paper with notes on it from that pivotal day. I had written out everything that I would need to get started. As I was reading over it, I was taken back to the conflicting emotions behind those words: overwhelmed, fear, excitement, doubt, adrenaline, cluelessness, determination, hope, faith. I had no idea what the journey ahead entailed. All the sleepless nights, the lessons that would need to be learned, the failures and successes I would experience, and maybe most importantly, the never ending lesson of persistence: try, fail, get back up, repeat. Oh, and don't forget to celebrate when you succeed, and then start again.

The rewards that come from working for yourself are incredible. It's wonderful not to dread going to work. You gain a sense of self-efficacy, autonomy with how you do your work, confidence while making decisions that honor who you desire to be, and most of all, fulfillment.

I am exhausted at times, but I am full. Full of purpose and hope. Full of gratitude for the people who surround me, believe in me, and pick me up when I need it.

The greatest lesson I've learned in the past five years is how much stronger we are together. You need people to look to when you can't rely on yourself, and to encourage you when you need it. People to teach you how to get a business license, how to file taxes correctly, how to perform a new skill with proficiency, how to market and brand yourself, how to effectively work with clients, and how to continue stepping out, despite the fear, in order to avoid complacency, and ultimately regret.

If you haven't read Jon Acuff's book Do Over, I highly recommend you do so ASAP. My favorite passage states: 

"Fear is not the same thing as regret.

Sometimes we confuse the two as if they are the same, but they are not. They are very different.

Regret has a much longer shelf life than fear. Fear is a moment, a beast of a decision you’re afraid to make, a demon of a day you’re afraid to face. Regret is much more of a slow burn. If fear is a tidal wave, large and loud and temporarily very powerful, regret is a small stream that cuts a canyon into your heart slowly over time.

Change isn’t easy. Do over moments are not always simple. I know that. I hate them sometimes in my own life. I get afraid but I have to choose something and so do you.

Fear or regret?

Will you face the fear of today or the regret of forever?

We get to choose that.

Will you attack your fear of failure, maybe even fail and try again? Cleaning the beach of your life after a wave that crushed you but left lesson upon lesson in its wake?

Or will you give up on your do over? Believing that kids can dream but adults must settle? Allowing that thin line of regret to trickle over time until it splits your life in half?

I choose fear. I choose grit.

Let the waves come."

Those last four words meant so much to me that I decided to permanently put them on my arm as a reminder, despite my mother wishing I'd just framed them and hung them in my office instead (sorry, Mom!). 

My choice, 5 years ago, while terrifying, has been one of the most pivotal life events I've experienced. It completely changed my life, and me, for the better. And now, when I become fearful, I think about the past few years and I'm reminded of where I began, how far I've come, and ultimately Who holds my future.

Let the waves come.

Let the Waves Come: Choosing Fear Over Regret | Jennifer Diaz

So I'm asking you, which will you choose? Is there a dream inside of you that you can't stop thinking about? A tug at your heart and conscience that begs you to step out and try? 

Maybe you've been wanting to start your own business, or quit a job that makes you miserable. Perhaps there are some lifestyle changes you've been hoping to make, but the thought of failing has stopped you. Is there something new you've been wanting to try, but you keep putting it off, waiting for that elusive, perfect moment?

Oh, how I encourage you to step out onto the shore to face your fears. It might not be easy, and it definitely won't be comfortable, but I can promise you it will be worth it! And despite the times when you'll feel like it, you will not be alone! If you've been thinking about making some healthy lifestyle changes, but aren't sure where to begin, I'd love to help you figure out the next best step! As I said earlier, we're much better together!

If your dream is to start your own business, there is a course called the 30 Days of Hustle that I recommend you checking out. I've personally been a part of it, and found it to be incredibly helpful! In order to achieve your goals, you have to take action, and this not only gives you actionable steps on how to do that, but also places you in a supportive community with other people who are working towards their goals. Click this link to learn more.

If you were to face your fear, what dream would you chase?