Fear, Regret and Following Your Heart

Three and a half years ago, my wife and I moved from Nashville, TN - where we’d lived for a decade - to Tampa, FL. We’d always wanted to live in Tampa, and had dreamed about it for years. For those years, we talked about that move, making tentative plans, and keeping things vague.

I have to be honest, I was pretty scared.

See, I’d always lived in Tennessee. I grew up in Knoxville, and moved out to Nashville to finish school. My immediate family all live in Knoxville today, and the thought of being 10+ hours away from them was more than a little nerveracking.

Finally, after years of talking, we manned up. We chose a date, decided we’d go for it, and solidified the plans. If things didn’t work out, we reasoned, we could always move back. Nothing, save death, is permanent.

We’re still here. And we still talk about how that move was the best decision of our lives.

The thing is, it’s easy to be scared. It’s easy to do nothing with your dreams. It’s easy to excuse yourself for not taking action, saying you’ll do it next year, that the timing isn’t quite right, that you’ll definitely get around to it at some point.

The problem is, you don’t have forever. Yeah, it’s cliche’, I get it, but it’s true: every year you don’t act is one more year with wasted dreams. Don’t plant those seeds of regret.

Regret is a horrible thing. If you think about it, regret might be one of the worst emotions we can experience, because it’s unsolvable. If you’re angry, sad, depressed or envious, time always heals you. But with regret, time simply makes things worse. Regret is time’s way of punishing you for a lack of courage.

You have dreams, we all do. We want to be something new, work at a new place. We want to live in a different city, or jump into a new relationship. We want to take a risk on a new business, or tell someone how we really feel. Dreaming is inherently human.

As you reflect on your past year and look forward to the next, make 2015 your year of courage. Resolve that you’ll chase those dreams, that you’ll make real plans, and that you’ll take the leaps you’ve been dreaming about. The more you go after those dreams, the easier it’ll get. Take that first step.

Remember, outside of death, nothing is permanent. You can always go back. Banish fear; take that leap.

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