letter #011 | dear younger me: feel the fear and do it anyway.

dear younger me: feel the fear and do it anyway.

Letter #011

April 24, 2023

feels good to be home.

For the last four weeks, I've been away. I really appreciate those of you who have reached out to make sure your inbox just wasn't tripping, but I wanted to express to all of you that I'm truly sorry it's been so long.

This practice of writing and sharing with you each week had become something so sacred and beautiful to me and I really missed it each week I was away.

The short of my absence is that I let a lot of things get in the way of me writing and showing up.

I let voices of self-doubt creep in. Despite receiving replies from some of you during my absence and even before sharing with me which letters had most resonated with you, at times I would still deeply question whether what I was doing mattered.

I would compare myself to more seasoned writers and ask myself, "Why do my letters not look or sound like that?" "Why does my writing not affect people the way his or hers does?"

But for one, I can't quantify the resonance that I or my work has on others and it's not my place to even try.

My job is to simply keep showing up.

I was placing too much pressure on myself to have the perfect comeback. To have a perfect reason why I'd been gone. A perfectly expressed letter of return. With each week that passed without me sharing anything, I began placing more and more pressure that my return had to be perfect. It couldn't just be any old return; it had to be The Return.

This was unnecessary.

And finally, although the last month has been good overall, there have been definitely been some moments that really challenged me and my sense of self-worth.

Overall, I was becoming too critical of myself, hyperfocusing on the micro details of what I was doing and not recognizing the overarching positive effects that my actions were creating just by continuing to show up.

So, even though some of these reasons are still a factor, I'm back.

there is no trust without commitment.

I realized these last few weeks that over the course of my life, there have been very few things I have truly committed myself to. The main one that comes to mind is my business. And that wasn't so much a personal commitment to me, but to the kids I get to help.

This came up for me recently because one of my goals this year was to send out my newsletter each week.

When setting that goal, it hadn't dawned on me that I had never fully committed myself to showing up weekly for a full year for anything ever before.

I don't even think I knew how.

And it sounds simple, right? You just "do the thing" week after week for a whole year? Yeah!

Simple, yes. But easy? Not exactly.

I discovered that there are other silent and internal factors at play when it comes to committing that I've realized I can be very averse to facing.

Top factors that come to mind include:

  • being afraid to look foolish in front of others
  • making mistakes
  • being afraid to be seen trying and not succeeding (aka "failing") in front of others
  • feeling like I wasn't good enough to consistently do what I set out to do
  • lacking trust in my own skills and abilities and believing that if I experienced success with something, it could be more attributed to luck rather than skill
  • focusing on the risks I was taking and what I could lose rather than the rewards and what I could gain

But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I realize now that I have to maintain hope and trust in something to get to where I want to be.

feel the fear and do it anyway.

It is hard continuing to show up.

Incredibly hard.

It is not so much the external act of showing up itself that held me back, but the internal work of setting aside and overcoming everything I thought I was not in order to continue showing up.

But I promise you there is so much good to experience on the other side of fear.

Honestly, I think fear is what stops most of us from ever sharing and developing our gifts with others. But this fear can also keep us from ever experiencing the full richness in life that comes from toiling away at oneself or one's craft or endeavor until true greatness emerges.

surrender control of the outcome.

I wasn't sure how this letter would come out. What form or shape it would take. Or how it would land with those of you reading it.

But I realize I cannot control all of those things.

What I can control is taking the time and making the effort to write and surrendering control of the outcome of that.

There is so much I am excited to share with you in the coming weeks and months.

I sincerely appreciate you being here and it feels so good to be back.

Thank you for your presence.

In closing, I would like to leave you with the words of my all-time favorite poem by Ms. Marianne Williamson. It's called Our Deepest Fear.

I first heard this poem when I was 10 years old watching the movie Akeelah and the Bee. As a fellow Black girl who had won a spelling bee growing up, it was such a powerful movie to me and to this day, I am still deeply moved by the scene. You can watch the four-minute clip here.

our deepest fear

by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,
"Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give others permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

I’d love to hear from you.

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you? Got an idea for something you’d like to see in a future letter?

Just reply to this email to let me know. I’m happy to hear from you and respond to every message.

It feels great to be back and I truly hope you've been well, Reader. Thank you for reading, thank you for being here, and I'll see you next week.

With love,

Welcome to the Dear Younger Me newsletter! I'm so glad you're here.

I write weekly letters on personal development, life, and what I'm learning along the way. Delivered straight to your inbox every week.

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