Growing Pains: When Becoming Something New Feels Scary

Growing Pains

“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.” ~Barbara De Angelis

When we were kids, my dad used to measure us as we grew taller. On the back of the door of the laundry chute, he would keep track of me and my two sisters.

Every six months or so, he’d take out the ruler and lay it right on the top of our heads and mark the door. When we’d step away, we’d notice that we grew a few inches since the last time. Or, if we look at where we measured the previous year, we’d discover that we grew a full foot.

When did this growing take place? We didn’t feel it? And yet we were taller.

I think this is how it is supposed to feel. Effortless. Graceful. Easy.

But when we are stepping out in new arenas, it seems there is so much more to consider. There are financial risks and personal risks and relationship risks and emotional risks.


We are in the in-between. We are becoming someone we haven’t been before. We are living larger than we dared before.

It doesn’t feel so graceful.

When I first started producing teleseminars, I had to call high-profile speakers and ask them to be a part of our lineup. One of the first speakers I had to call had been on CNN and all the other news channels, and she was represented by a publicist in New York.

We were a “nobody.” But we wanted her on our line up to give us credibility. And I had to somehow project that we were bigger than we were to get her on our show. I remember looking at this publicist’s number on my computer screen and having to talk myself into making the call.

I hadn’t done this before. What kind of questions might she ask? I didn’t know what I needed to be prepared for. I wrote myself a script of exactly my pitch, what I would say when she answered the phone.

Projecting confidence, I made it through my first call. I got her answering machine. I left her a message and followed up with an email.

When she responded, before she could give me an answer she told me that I had to talk to their legal team, and could she book a conference call with their attorney?

Conference call? Legal team? What?

Of course I can, I told her, and scheduled the call.

After I hung up the phone, I realized I had to be in control of the situation, and more importantly, my fear.

I’m the one in charge, I told myself. I scripted how I wanted it to go. I wanted to book these speakers easily. I wanted to close the deal in three calls or less. I wanted to book fifteen out of the twenty-one speakers in the next week.

Then I let that settle into my body. Yes. That is how I wanted it to go down. And it did. Exactly.

Pretty soon, booking speakers became an experience that I became comfortable with. But I remember that first time. That first pang of fear. Of not knowing what to expect. Of coming off like a newbie. Always afraid to be “found out” that I didn’t know what I was doing.

So, I had to give myself the mental bridge, a new script. To establish myself as someone who knew what she was doing, I had to accept that I could be that person or else I’d end up paralyzed be fears.

Sometimes we don’t know what we’re doing because we’ve never been in the situation before. It happens in relationships, in situations with our children, in business transactions, in communication. We find ourselves in new experiences and have to feel our way through them, sometimes for the first time.

And we have to take a bet on ourselves and trust that we can do more than we think we can.

The fear is that we might fail, or not do it right, or find out that we are a beginner. Again.

And what if we are? What if we bit off more than we can chew? What if we don’t land the sale or the contract or the client or the gig?

Robert Kiyosaki, in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad put it this way: If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

But failure is relative. Sometimes failure is just about not showing up. Not believing in ourselves. Not being willing to take a bet on our own success.

Or sometimes, failure is about self-sabotage, completely unrelated to our true potential.

I remember having a teacher that used to tell me”Show up for your success!” In other words, don’t abandon the opportunity just because you don’t know how to do it right.

I was talking to a friend this week and she reminded me of the quote, “Anything that is worth doing is worth doing badly.”

This was liberating to me.

When we’re taking on something new, we don’t have to get it right every time. As a matter of fact, we can give ourselves permission not to.

As Barbara De Angelis says, “The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.”

That’s it.

It’s in showing up, in the discovery, in the attempt, even as a beginner, that life transforms.

Having said that, I also want to say this: Anticipate your success. See yourself as successful. See yourself as capable. See yourself as having already achieved the thing you want.

Something in you thinks that you can, or else you wouldn’t be where you are.

Create the mental bridge. See yourself having crossed it successfully, joyfully, gracefully. And let that be your experience. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be forward. Even if it’s on your tippy toes—blind folded.

Because remember, three steps forward and two steps backward is still progress.

We cannot fail. We can only expand. And we will always be living in the in-between.

Photo by rosiekernohan

About Sonya Derian

Sonya Derian is the owner and founder of Om Freely, a company dedicated to helping people live out loud, tap into their power, and transform their lives. To pick up your free ebook: Om Freely: 30 Ways to Live Out Loud, please visit http://omfreely.com . Or check out her online store at: http://cafepress.com/omfreely.

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