Note: This is a guest post written by Cait Flanders, creator of the fabulous personal finance blog Blonde on a Budget. I’ve been an avid follower of Cait’s blog for a while now, and I am honoured to have her contribute on Charlotte’s Web. Cait has recently conquered some fears and I am confident she will soon be seeing big results. Fortunately, she’s agreed to share her adventures with us.
I just finished reading Seth Godin’s book Tribes for the third time. You would think a book of only 120 pages would be easy to remember the first go around, but I’ve recently discovered that some of the messages in it only make sense when it relates to a current situation in your life. This third read opened my eyes to the messages surrounding change and risk-taking, which are two topics I had no experience with before recently.
For most of my life, I was content. I finished all of my homework for school but accepted only getting B’s. I took whatever salary was offered to me, without question. I stayed in relationships for too long, because we had “been together forever.” The examples could go on and on. And I know I’m not alone in this behaviour.
As I now see it, the basic skill required for simply being a content person is not to be satisfied with life but to be someone who avoids change. If something changes, we get scared. And when we get scared, we have a tendency to make an irrational decision (like run away from the change) that we hope will bring us back to being content.
In Tribes, Godin says that, “fear of change is built into most organisms, because change is the first sign of risk.” And I’ve recently learned that a risk can only exist when we feel we have something to lose. Earlier this month, Carly wrote a great post on seizing opportunities. Over the last year or so, a number of new opportunities have come into my life. At first, I was scared of each one. I didn’t think I deserved some and couldn’t imagine being offered others. But I did, and I have, and my life has changed drastically because of them all.
Today, I’m running on long weeks of short sleeps. My emotions run higher and faster than I can keep up with and I’ve been waiting for the pit in my stomach to disappear. Until I realized it wasn’t a pit in my stomach. Rather I seem to have a 24/7 case of the butterflies. They exist because I’m running on fumes of excitement and fear, at all times. I know what I want, I think I know how to get it, and I’m terrified that it won’t happen.
There are risks involved. And, if I can make it happen, there will be a lot of change. But instead of running away from either, I’m going to start chasing the butterflies. Because all of the clichés and popular sayings finally make sense. Life is too short. Don’t be afraid to try. Never waste an opportunity. And some risks are worth taking.
Author Bio: Cait Flanders is a personal finance blogger turned freelance writer. She’s currently finishing her BA in Communications, while working full-time and interning part-time at a personal finance startup out of NYC. Cait is passionate about helping her generation eliminate consumer debt and live richer lives because of it. You can read more by Cait at her blog or follow her on Twitter.