Wait… I don’t need permission to be myself?

The truth is… I put off starting a blog for years because I couldn’t find anyone else who designed and produced their own clothing line while simultaneously writing about discovering their life’s calling, giving up fast fashion, and the intricacies of navigating the launch of a creative dream.

I didn’t know what I was doing, but lack of experience paled in comparison to the thought of no one caring that I was doing it.

I had no step-by-step success model to compare my progress to (then again, does anyone really?) and no input regarding what not to do.

Ideas for blog topics and dress designs bounced around in my head, but they never made it past a voice memo on my iPhone.

Like the ingredients of a deliciously comforting soup broth left to the culinary discretion of an amateur who has never turned on the stove, I was too scared to even try.

I believe that at some point or another, we have all been faced with uncharted territory. Sure, there are groups we can join to get support from people who can relate to us, which can prove extremely helpful in times of need.

However, there are some problems that cannot be solved by posting in a Facebook group or asking Google.

It was like I needed someone else to be exactly like me to see it as permission to be different.

Humans are built for community — the explosion of blogging and personal brands proves this. We connect through mutual experiences and enjoy sharing thoughts and guidance with each other.

We feel a sense of security when someone has gone before us and cut away the branches, clearing a path for us.

Alternatively, if visibility is limited, our willingness to forge ahead often is as well.

Choosing to go a certain way almost always involves risk. Maybe you’re the first one in your family to move to a different city. Maybe no one else in your friend group is starting their own business.

Whether it be changing careers, attempting a new fitness challenge, or taking a one year sabbatical to travel — someone else on the planet has most likely done these things before you. A perk of living in the digital age is that tips and guidelines for navigating these changes are probably no more than a Google search away.

But what happens when it seems like no one has done exactly what you are about to do?

You hear “be yourself,” or “find what makes you come alive,” but these things often require more risk, time, and venture into the unknown than we anticipate.

It’s so much easier to emulate someone — to keep your appetite for risk contained to the wide, paved path.

If you don’t naturally gravitate towards risk and cannot fathom jumping off the cliff, perhaps the answer lies in the slow evolution — what if we strayed from the path by only a few inches at a time, slowly warming to the thought of paving our own?

What if we let go of the burden of reinventing the wheel, and instead just tweak a few of its spokes?

Ask yourself, where could you be in a few years if you start right now?

So dream onwards, friends. Put action behind your thoughts, jump over those seemingly larger than life obstacles one at a time, and do something you’ve always contemplated.

Sometimes ten feet in front of you becomes clearer after the first step.

And most of all, don’t worry about who has gone before you — and more importantly, who will follow. The time is now.

“A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs approval of sheep.” — Vernon Howard