Learn from Smart Women

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Many people will tell you, and have likely already told you, to take the path of least resistance.  ‘If the door isn't open, it wasn’t meant to be’; ‘it should be easy’; ‘don't force it.’  Have you heard these words?  Have you said them to others, or worse, to yourself?  Many people perceive challenges and failure as signs to give up.  And to those many people, failure is the fate they believe they were destined for.  

I am not one of those people, and I don’t want you to be either.


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The greatest accomplishments in your life will follow the overcoming of your greatest challenges and failures.  These challenges will incite the greatest amount of fear and self-doubt.  But the presence of that fear is how you will know that the direction your life is taking is the right one.  Admittedly, facing your fears is not a new concept; it's conventional advice.  However, the unconventional advice I have discovered, and taken, is to use fear as the compass to following your dreams.  The project, or the client, or the new venture that scares you, the one that keeps you up at night and makes you recoil in temporary self-loathing, is the very same project, client, or venture that will move you forward in life. 

Before I moved to New York City, I had a good life: a good job, a good boss, and a good social life.  Yet life wasn’t perfect, and I had this nagging feeling that I could be reaching for and achieving more.  I wanted a great life, and to attain that, I had to forfeit everything that was good and relinquish myself to every fear that came with it: moving to a big, unknown city, making new friends, building a new social circle (as an introvert), and pursuing a career I had no professional experience in.  I needed to create an entirely new life.

When the fears flooded in and self-doubt lurked in every cavern of my brain, time and time again, I had to make the choice to persist, or give in.  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give in and go back to what was comfortable and easy.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘no’ or was turned down when I had hoped that this opportunity was my big break — and it wasn’t.  There were countless heartbreaks, letdowns, and disappointments on this unchartered road to greatness.  But, despite the voices that told me ‘no’ or ‘not right now’, the voice inside that never steers me wrong (though often steers me directly towards fear) spoke the loudest, and it told me to stay the course.  By staying the course for two plus years I have laid a foundation for a great life: a soul-nourishing freelance writing career, an inspiring group of supportive friends, a love affair with the Big Apple — and every diversion and opportunity it throws my way on the daily.


The unconventional advice I have discovered and taken is to use fear as the compass to following your dreams.


I didn't give up a good life in pursuit of a great life just to chicken out and settle back down to good again.  And neither should you.

Don’t let your fears deter you and don’t let failure derail you.  Instead, follow your fears, for they are pointing you exactly in the direction of your dreams.


Amanda Wowk is a freelance writer and editor based in NYC. She founded Amanda Wowk Creative to offer creative writing services directly to clients, including partnering with individuals and businesses for editorial, personal and digital branding, and corporate storytelling projects.


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