“I’m afraid I might die before I ever get there.”

This was 17-year-old me talking to my mom a month before I was going away to college. It was a slow summer at home and the long-anticipated move was approaching, but I started getting really worried. Finally, I told my mom that I was scared I might never get there.

My mom smiled and said, “Honey, you just can’t imagine this new life because you’ve never experienced anything like it before.

She was right, of course. This is wisdom that applies to all of us — we cannot fathom a wholly different experience for ourselves. And often, that’s what stops us from making changes, even when we hate our current circumstances.


gif of a pink brain looking calm, and then its expression changes to panicked. Text over the top says "NEW IS SCARY!"


Just because you’ve never done it before doesn’t mean you CANNOT do it.

Our brains are good at planning around scenarios we are used to. They are kind of crap at dealing with completely new scenarios, because it’s pretty impossible to make plans or strategize around an unknown territory.

To build your ability to make a new change, try this:

  • Give yourself some tenderness.
    Almost all my inner work starts with this. Compassion makes everything easier inside.
  • Remind yourself that you’re stepping into something NEW and it’s going to feel uncomfortable.
    Your brain is always going to feel nervous and awkward doing new stuff.
  • Take it slow and remember your job is to gather data and learn.
    Do not expect speed or perfection. Instead, dial your brain to the “explore” setting and take the pressure off.


image highlighting the three points listed above in the email text


We never know what we can actually do until we try. But also, it’s okay that trying new things feels daunting.

It’s okay to be scared, and do stuff anyway. That’s the only way you find out what you’re actually capable of.


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