Brave and Magnificent Steps

Trisha Faye follows her dreams from north Texas in a house full of rescue cats and a garden full of herbs. She loves to encourage others to live beyond the boundaries of other’s expectations.

“I thought of you and of all the brave and magnificent steps you have taken so far in your life.”

When I read this email from a friend, I almost had to look around the room to see who she was talking to. Yes, I’ve taken the leap as I chase my dreams—several times—yet, I’ve never felt that the choices I made were brave and magnificent steps.

Quite the opposite, in fact. After some of my more risky ventures, sometimes contemplating for years before taking action to reach for the stars that called to me, I more often felt foolish. I felt I’d acted in haste. Rather than feeling a rush of pleasure as I moved towards something bigger for my life, I felt unprepared and unwise.

Like many of us, I have naysayers in my life. Certain friends are ultra-conservative and can’t understand why I’d take such a financial risk, why I’d work so hard, nor even why I’d give up the security of a nine to five job, with insurance benefits to boot. And, they’re not always tactful in voicing their opinions of my foolhardy choices.

So, what do I do? Do I banish their thoughts and brave on?

I keep moving forward. I don’t let their thoughts stop me. But yet, I carry their negative words with me, tucked in a corner of my mind. And when the going gets tough, as it often does when taking a major leap, I dwell on the negativity and often wonder if they were right.

I don’t relegate their sentiments to the trash where they belong. And, I certainly don’t applaud myself for the brave and magnificent steps I’ve taken.

More than once I’ve stepped out of the common box of the expected day to day life that everyone else thought I should follow. Sometimes it’s been in a career path. Sometimes it’s been with relationships.

The first time I chased a dream, much to my husband’s dismay, was when I went back to school. I was turning thirty, and our second child was due. Any day. I started classes at the junior college two weeks before our youngest was born. I missed two weeks following his birth and then plunged right back into my studies. Even amidst the opposition I got at home.

My husband (at the time, now my ex) was not pleased with my new undertaking. I was supposed to work and take care of the children and the house. He didn’t understand my desire to learn, nor my wish to learn a new trade. Many arguments and five years later, I graduated with my two-year degree in Interior Design.

I got my degree right in time for a major recession. Few families had the discretionary funds for redecorating or making major household purchases, let alone for paying an interior designer. Jobs were few and far between. I never did start working in that field.

But, on this path of gaining knowledge and learning how to juggle school, part time work, children, a house, and a grumpy husband, I learned more about myself and gained strength that I didn’t know was possible. I learned to speak out. I learned to stand up for myself. I started participating in activities that I enjoyed.

Unfortunately for my then-husband, I also learned that I had the strength and the ability to live life without him. I learned that my opinions mattered. I learned that I had value. A year after walking across the stage for my diploma, I left the house and the husband behind.

Six years later another dream called to me. I’d long been an herb enthusiast. I loved to grow them, craft with them, and use them all over the house. When the company I worked for changed hands and they moved the sales office to another state, I decided to take my three month severance and open my own little herb and garden store.

Olde Thyme Gardens was the store of my dreams, albeit much smaller than I desired. Running it and operating on the thinnest of shoestrings, I didn’t have the money to grow as I would have liked. Since it never paid for itself, I had to take a part time job to pay the bills. I hung in there. I tried everything I knew to do. I taught classes in the store and through recreation departments. I made as many products as I could. I worked seventy hours a week and loved every minute of this venture.

Sadly, three years later I had to look at the truth and see that this time my grand leap wasn’t feasible any longer. I couldn’t keep working to pay the rent on the store as my personal bills got further behind each month.

For many years after that, I felt like a failure. I’d attempted a grand dream. It bombed. Since the store failed, that meant that I was a screw-up. Instead of looking at the good, I beat myself up about following a dream that didn’t work out.

It took me many years to accept that, yes, this venture was not successful. But that didn’t mean I was a failure. Along the way I learned many lessons. I learned how to talk to people. I learned to stand up in front of a room of strangers and speak and teach. I learned to create products I didn’t know how to before. I learned how to create newsletters, coupons, and booklets. I gained knowledge that I wouldn’t have if I’d looked for another desk job and sat there every day for eight hours.

Was that the last time I jumped off the cliff of doubt and indecision, hoping to sprout wings on the way down?

Not on your life. There have been times since then. Moves to another state. Major changes in relationships and lifestyle. And my latest was, once again, another change in leaving a full time job for the insecurity of another independent career—this time as a freelance writer.

Each time I try something different I learn more about myself. Each year I find I’m stronger than before. I can now stand proudly and say I am wise and courageous. I will keep following my dreams and leaping off of cliffs that I stand perched on the edge of. I’ll even admit that my friend was right – I’ve taken many brave and magnificent steps. I foresee many more of them in my future.