Oh, I Could Never Do That…Until You Do

Solo trip to Ecuador, 2015

I could never do that. A friend said that on a call the other day, we were talking about stretch goals. Her comment still lingers.

When was the last time you saw something impressive and thought, “I could never do that”?

I used to think that about a lot of things.

The problem is, it is not true most of the time.

If you have the physical and mental capacity (and even those are wider and deeper than we give them credit for), there are many impossible things you can do.

Tony Robbins says “In life, you either need inspiration or desperation”.

This is why you hear people like me yammer on about the comfort zone. When we have places to hide, aka our comfort zone, we look outside of them and think, I could never do that.

What do places to hide look like? Well, it can be confusing, because sometimes they are the things that support us, too. Or things we get approval for in society and family dynamics.

In my case, I hid behind my husband’s earning power for many years. I worked part-time and was totally holding back so as not to rock the boat — mine, his, the kids. I hid behind my kids, too.

I used to see women entrepreneurs and think, “I could never do that”.

I talked to a lot of them, I joined groups to support them in other countries, I sat on my comfy couch and read about them, but I didn’t actually become one until I left the security of my ex-husband’s paycheck.

And that started me on the path of doing all sorts of scary, exhilarating things that I was sure I could “never” do a few years ago. I am constantly holding space for more uncertainty than I am comfortable with. It is exhausting at times. If you run your own business, you know.

I’m not saying all my choices have been great. I’ve had branding missteps, spent time and money on the wrong things, (although some right things, too), and confused my audience several times.

So what?

The heroine’s journey is a hot mess.

I showed my inner perfectionist the door a few years ago on a mountaintop in Montana, shortly after I sold or donated everything that wouldn’t fit into my trusty Honda CRV with 90,000 miles. I left the nest really empty and traveled solo through Ecuador, Mexico, and the US.

I shed all my hiding places, on purpose.

And here is the new life that surfaces from the muck — when you do those things you could never do, no matter how imperfectly, you grow in ways you would not have thought possible, either.

One of the keys I’ve learned over the years is to lighten up. But how? I remember when I was a teenager and feeling frustrated, my Mom told me “It’s your attitude, Kala”. I would think, well, okie dokie, what do I do about that?

We can’t talk ourselves out of our feelings. We run up against life transitions that make us feel out of control and uncertain. But it turns out there is something you can do about it that is actually fun!

What I discovered after 5 years of living in other countries, mostly Mexico, is that travel is a proven but underrated tool for navigating life transitions. In fact, travel can be so much more than a margarita-soaked package vacay.

After an extended bout of midlife depression, travel gave me back my physical and mental health, my inner spirit, my creativity, my courage, my mojo.

But not all travel is created equal. In fact, I’ve written a book about how to plan an Inner Journey / Outer Adventure to help people navigate change. It's called The Way of the Tigress — Inner Journey / Outer Adventure to Discover a More Powerful You. If you are curious you can find out more here.

How about you, have you had a travel experience that spurred some inner growth?

I’d love to hear about it!

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