I'm the kind of person who has always followed signs.
I'm not talking about signs from the Universe. I'm talking about literal, physical signage. "Do Not Cross", "Private", "Use Other Sidewalk", I take these things seriously and I follow them to the letter. I walk on designated paths, rarely deviating, wandering off, or (gasp) going where a sign says not to.
This way of operating in the world keeps me safe and sound, and on the path well travelled.
Facing Obstacles, Big and Small
When you're an introverted, anxious person, it can be hard to break out of the cycle of the familiar. Before we started travelling full time, my anxiety would sometimes leave me unable to complete basic tasks outside the home.
Going to the grocery store, going to the gym, meeting a friend for brunch, all of these things felt completely insurmountable.
Funnily enough, now that we are on the move full-time, living in different places, without the safety of a permanent home, I feel less anxious about day-to-day tasks.
Now, obviously, this is something I can take at least partial credit for. I have been working on mindfulness, stress relief, and other tactics to manage my anxiety and make me more resilient. I would be amiss if I didn't mention one major factor that pushes me to be more brave, more fearless, more playful. My fearless sidekick. Max.
More About My Main Sidekick
My husband Max's default settings are the complete opposite of mine. Where I see the unknown, the uncertain, the dangerous, he sees adventures waiting to be discovered.
Where I see failure and rejection, he sees opportunity and a new door opening. He does not dwell. When faced with a missed opportunity, he moves on to the next option that presents itself.
When I see other's lives, relationships, possessions, milestones, and get a case of the "comparisonitis", he brushes it off and reminds me that those people are on their own path. We are on ours.
I honestly have no idea how he got to be so damn resilient, confident, and fearless. I have always chalked it up to his strong German roots vs. my meek English ones. No matter where it came from, I can say pretty confidently it's here to stay.
Max's fearlessness is one of the things I admire about him most.
He chooses the path less travelled, figurative and literally. He doesn't worry about what we are "supposed" to be doing and moves through the world to the beat of his own eclectic Spotify playlist.
It Takes a Village
While my main sidekick is my husband, I have so many people in my life who push me in the same way. People who encourage me to be more confident, brave, and demand more for myself.
Incredible family, friends, and fellow bloggers have all played this role in my world. Some for years, and some who are new to the party. These relationships push me out of my shell and drive me forward.
No one person can be this bolster for you all the time. It's demanding, draining, and unfair. It has to come from within. The voice in your own head has to be the one that matters most, the one who you listen to most, but that takes practice and time.
My advice? Find these people. Find the fearless, brave, playful people. The people that intimidate you and make you semi-nervous. Friends who make you laugh with your whole body and try new things. Family who have completely different lives from you that you can learn from and grow with. These friends, family, relationships push you to thrive, not just survive.
If you have these people in your social circle, amazing. If you don't, don't worry. You can find them!
How to Find Your Tribe
Here are some of the ways I have grown my army of brave sidekicks.
- Join Meetup Groups: Join community groups in your area or abroad that focus on goals you have or topics you are interested in. Use a platform like Meetup or through Facebook groups and communities. Find topics that interest you and try going out to an event. You might just meet some pretty amazing people that will empower you.
- Travel: Travelling is another way to meet amazing, fearless people. Go to that destination you have been meaning to. Don't have a travel buddy? Join a tour as a solo traveller and make some new friends on your way.
- Co-live: Try a co-living space. Trying this was completely out of my wheelhouse, but forced me into an environment where I got to interact with new people, hear their stories, and get inspired. This is great if you're a solo traveller or a couple.
- Follow Along: While there are lots of people who I know in real life who inspire and propel me forward, there are countless people who I interact with through blogs and social media who encourage me too. Find your tribe on social who are working on likeminded goals, interact with them and inspire one another.
Listen to Them (and Yourself)
Finding your tribe, your sidekick, your life coach (whatever) is not about ignoring your fears and anxieties. Trust me, if that were possible I'd be doing it.
Those anxious thoughts will come and go. Those doubts will show up, time after time. Acknowledge them, rationalize through them, if you can, and take advice from your tribe.
I can say from my own experience, that it does get better. I have learned that while I still feel hesitant and like digging in my heels, sometimes I have to go for it and take a leap.
Max, I owe you one.
So, thank you, Max. Thank you for being my main guy, my biggest fan, and life coach/friend extraordinaire.
I would have happily not left the house since 2013 if not for you - except to go to adopt more cats and get chips.
Because of you, we stopped at two cats, rented our house, sold our furniture, donated our clothes, stored our car, packed our bags, and jumped.
Never stop trying to make me try stupid, scary, funny, silly, intimidating things.