It’s OK to be Scared

“It’s ok to be scared … if you are scared you have the opportunity to be brave”

I have repeated this mantra to my daughters so many times.. at the playground, at the dentist, before their shots… the list goes on. They probably think I just say it to them, they must believe that I came up with it just for their benefit…to soothe them in their fears (kids are self centered like that). What they don’t realize is how long I’ve been repeating this mantra to myself. I have gone through the last 10 years or so of life with people commenting with regards to how “brave” I am and that if it was anyone doing xyz it would be me. What I’ve learnt is that it’s ok to be scared .. it’s what you do with it that counts.

I left for another continent at 19, and then yet to another at 21 and then at 23 got onto a plane to LA, taking a giant leap of faith, to meet a guy who ended up becoming my husband a short few weeks after. I’ve definitely lived life on the edge and looking back I gawk at myself (and also wonder how on earth my parents trusted me so much.. and thank them for it). But here I am, days away from another life changing moment, and I am as scared, nervous and anxious as I was before all those other ‘brave moments’. The truth is that I have always been scared of change, of giant leaps, of getting outside my comfort zone, but I always had this voice in my head telling me that I can do it, that I can do anything and achieve anything and that always nudged me to say YES to crazy ideas on a whim ( like deciding to return to Australia on a Friday and being on a plane on Monday cos wasting a work/tourist was a shame).

When I hear people speak about my bravery I giggle and wince a little inside, because just seeing my outwardly actions only tells a sliver of the story. Yes, I do take leaps, yes, I do push myself way out of my comfort zone, but what people don’t see is the hours of anxiety or the fear of the unknown that haunts me the week before (maybe that’s why I don’t be give myself a week sometimes). Being brave and going on fun, yet crazy, adventures doesn’t need to happen in the absence of fear. This is what I want to tell everyone who thinks they cannot make the next move, take that crazy trip, say yes to a promotion or start a new hobby. When you peel the layers of fear you quickly realize that a lot of them are unfounded, as long as you have a solid back up plan the worst that can happen is that you have to execute a plan B, but at least you know you tried and in that alone you can also find joy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what has influenced me to be the way I am. I struggle with so much anxiety and yet I’m currently on a plane heading to China with my husband and our two young daughters. We are uprooting our lives in the US for this crazy adventure. This will be the 4th continent I’ll live on and the 5th country – all before turning 30… and having kids has definitely not slowed me down (more on this in some future post). The first influencers were my sweet parents, these two individuals have always believed in me so much, they gave me wings when it would have been easier for them to be selfish and clip them, they told me I could be anyone and do anything if I applied myself enough and at 19 encouraged me to leave the proverbial nest and head to the US. Up till today, even though it means having their granddaughters a world away, they continue to encourage, support and cheer, and also visit us wherever we may be. I thank them for their unselfish and loving ways. My grandparents have always been my cheer leaders too. I’ll never forget my grandpa’s firm and loving hug as I said my goodbyes to head to Australia (that would also be the last time I would see him and I’m sure he knew it too) and his words of encouragement. Next come my teachers. I have been blessed with the best teachers over the years. From a young age my teachers believed in me, be it my school teachers, my dance/ theatre and singing teachers or mentors and supervisors during my university years. Each one who invested her time in me, believed in me and told me I could do it… these became the voices in my head today that help me overcome my fear and remember that being afraid does not have to stop you from achieving. There have been many other individuals who have influenced me and challenged me on the way, from a boyfriend who convinced me to apply for an exchange program even thought that meant moving away, to friends who remind me that anxiety can be overcome and to remember to breathe and a brother & sister in law who remind me to stay positive. Finally, and most importantly in this stage of life, a husband who gets me, who pushes me, who entertains my crazy whims, and who has become my greatest supporter and challenges me daily. I thank you all!

I think I may have over written this time around… (I’m on a plane so I actually have time πŸ˜‚).. but I cannot go without mentioning my daughters. Before having my babies I was brave for myself, to prove to myself that I could truly do anything despite being afraid. Today it goes much farther. Today I have the responsibility to model to these girls what it looks like to be brave, how brave women take on tasks even when they are scared. I don’t shy away from letting them into my world and I tell them that some things scare me, just like doing a flip at gymnastics may scare them. But we at greater than our fears and we can accomplish.

I want to end this by challenging YOU to take the leap… in whatever it may be. It doesn’t have to be moving your whole family to Beijing (however if it is I wouldn’t be too upset.. and I promise we’ll help you settle in 😜). It can be the smallest thing or it could be life changing, but if you feel that nudge to try something new (or go back to something that you loved in your younger years) DO IT! And if you’re scared … just remember … this is the perfect opportunity to be brave πŸ˜ƒ and I cannot wait to hear all about it πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Horseshoe bend 2017

Traveling solo to Europe with these two beauties allowed for great family time

Aussie living 2009/2010

First days on foreign exchange 2007 ( how did 10 years pass so quick )

2 thoughts on “It’s OK to be Scared

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  1. You have a way of expressing things..very eloquent……Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.
    Virgil Thomson
    I think you are at this stage but very few go through these stages for fear can literally immobilize a person.
    COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR, BUT THE TRIUMPH OVER IT…I think it was Mark Twain but I remember Nelson Mandela having used this in a speech.It resonates with what you are and how you live your lives..a great example for the little ones.Andie and Noa are truly blessed by your and Kelvin’s example.When you are ready to head our way let me know ..Christmas time is a great time to be here..many things happening and many get togethers.Dolores would be ecstaic to see you and by than she would have her twins as well.Keep safe and hope you settle in nicely in China..a great new adventure certainly awaits all of you.Philippa.


    1. It is going to take adapting to the new cultural norms here for sure … and we for sure want to head your way I would love to b back in Aussie πŸ™‚


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