COURTNEY’S JOURNEY OF LIVING LIFE OUTSIDE HER COMFORT ZONE – AND I AGREED
We recently had the pleasure of connecting with Courtney Baker. She runs an artesian calligraphy print shop at Paper Heart Calligraphy. She’s passionate about inspiring women leaders and it is authentic. Here’s her sharing some of what she is experiencing as she moves through the journey of entrepreneurship.
I have been on quite the journey these past few years. It is my journey of living life outside my comfort zone because I spent a huge chunk of my life inside a comfortable box. I share it to say, you are not alone and there is hope.
Does fear ever take over? Does it drive your decisions? Does it stop you from taking chances? It stopped me!
As a kid, my life was characterized by not taking part in things. I had really bad anxiety as a child, complete with being on some medication and not being able to sleep in my own bed for a few years. I missed out on sleepovers at friends houses and any new activities. And if I did, my mom would need to stay until I was comfortable…Which meant she stayed the whole time.
I struggled with making close friends, never feeling like I belonged. And when I did make a friend, I always felt like they didn’t think I was fun, cool or smart enough.
I continued like that throughout high school and into my first year of college.
But on my 21st birthday, something in me changed. I think I got really tired of living in fear all the time. The box that I used to hide, no longer was helping me but holding me back.
So, here’s what I did…Are you ready for the crazy, life-altering decision I made to change my life?
I asked for a pair of hiking boots for my birthday.
Yes, a pair of boots. My family was not the hiking type, so this was super intimidating for me, and this was one thing I was intimidated by but also really wanted to try.
That whole year consisted of me trying to take small steps out of my box. I went on this crazy hard hike (however, I just did it again last year, and it wasn’t really that hard ;), I began speaking to people that were different than me, and I began figuring out who I actually was. I had spent so long trying to be someone that I thought everyone else liked and I actually had no idea who I was and what my passions were.
Sometimes I ran back in my box to hide, but I would get up and try again. Because I desperately wanted to love myself without needing the approval of others.
And during that time, as I was slowly revealing to people who I was, I received so many affirmations from people I wouldn’t even keep track! It was a gift from God. He was pulling me out of that box and started showing me it was safe outside of it too.
I began giving myself permission to be curious, to dream and to fail. I realized that the world will not end if I make a mistake. It was so freeing. Sometimes I only had the energy to show up for something. And in those times that I took a risk, God always showed up with me.
I began building the capacity to take bigger risks because I had experienced amazing things happen when I just showed up.
My passion for courageous living is built on the solid foundation of knowing that God works in our weaknesses and vulnerability. And I want to be in those places.
Now I’m not saying it was all smooth sailing. There were times where it was really hard and really scary. There are times where I failed or I felt embarrassed or rejected. But I was being true to myself, and that mattered way more than those small moments of anxiety.
Now that I have felt what it feels like to take risks, I find myself not being able to stay in my box even when I want to. I crave the risk because I know God works in those times. It is a holy space he invites us into, to do transforming work.
PaperHeart began in the midst of this transition from freedom to fear. And as much as it is a way to encourage others, it is also another risk for me. There are so many possibilities to “fail,” but I have learned so much through starting this journey. I proved to myself that I can learn “techy” things like building a website. And learned that you don’t have to be perfect to start something. And I learned that when I show my true self to others, they actually like me.
So I share all this to say, I have been there. If you struggle with fear (I still do too!), I hope my story will encourage you to not stay there. There is freedom that comes when we take courageous risks. There is freedom outside our comfort zones.
But it starts with one small step (a pair of hiking boots), and many stall steps after that.