“Knowing how you want to feel, is the most potent form of clarity you can have.”
–Danielle La Porte
How we define Living Out Loud is in direct relation to how we experience it.
June has been a month focused on living out loud. It’s a month where I’ve challenged you to call up courage to take risks, to speak your truth, to take action that would leave you feeling proud, and to live your life purposefully and intentionally.
What steps have you taken this month?
As June comes to close, I want you to reflect back on the small steps you’ve taken toward living out loud. Maybe you tried something new. Maybe you went for that job. Maybe you pushed yourself a bit more in class or spoke a little louder (no pun intended). I want you to celebrate those small steps because when we look back at the steps we’ve taken, it reminds us of just how far we can go….if we keep walking.
I challenge YOU to keep walking.
The small steps of trying something new, asking someone out, going for that new job, or challenging yourself in class is a LIVE out loud moment. It’s a singular step of what living out loud means. It’s an important small step, but what I want you to understand is that full-on living out loud is not a onetime thing. It’s easy to do something challenging or scary once; much harder to continually stretch and grow. Living out loud is that practice to continually go above and beyond what we think we’re capable of doing and who we think we’re capable of being.
In my sophomore year of college I went to Dorney Park with a bunch of friends. As we talked about what ride we should get on first, the majority decided that our night should commence with Steel Force. At the time, this was the tallest steel roller-coaster on the east coast with the biggest drop at 205 feet. Even as a child, I was never one for big drops. But, all my friends were going on it, so I swallowed my fear and got in line. To this day I will never forget the climb. Climbing up 205 feet felt like an eternity, even though the total length of the ride is only 3 minutes. During the climb, as everyone was talking, I was just trying to breathe. Why did I agree to come on this ride? If I start crying do you think they’ll let me get off? What if I get off? What if I don’t? Question after question, breath after breath until we were at the top. That fleeting moment when you go, “Oh crap. This is it.” I would love to tell you that the climb was the worst of it, but the drop nearly paralyzed me. If you don’t believe me, see the thumbnail for this post. When the ride finished, and after my friends had a good laugh at the picture (so much that they insisted on buying me a keepsake keychain!), pride settled in. I was proud that I had conquered the fear of going on Steel force. But, when one of my friends asked me if I wanted to have a go-again, I was like, “Hell no.” Once was enough.
The practice of living out loud is much like riding a roller coaster. Think back to something difficult you’ve done in your life or something you didn’t think you could do, but did. At the first sight of the challenge, the onset of your “climb,” there’s all the What Ifs: the questions that challenged you, the questions that wanted you to give in and play small. In life though, we always have the option to stop taking those small steps, to get off the ride mid-climb. Sometimes we’ll stop taking small steps because it’s hard. Sometimes we’ll stop taking small steps because we think it will take too long. Sometimes we’ll choose to stay on. In those moments of staying on is where we meet our greatest resistance. We’re changing and growing and before we know it we’re at the top–the “Oh crap. This is it” moment. A point of no return. A point that will leave us changed. And then it happens. We drop: whether we’re in the midst of asking that person out, saying we’re sorry, coming out, or interviewing for that job, we feel our stomach turn and we’re anxious or maybe paralyzed with gripping fear. A true living out loud moment. And then it’s over. While we feel a sense of pride about what we took on, we also acknowledge that it required hard work and perseverance. So, when Life asks, “Want to have a go-again?” we’re likely to resist.
It’s easy to do something once. To live out loud is to keep walking knowing IT will be hard.
IT won’t happen in an instant. What keeps us in the game of small steps is our desired feeling. More important than the questions of Who do you want to be? or What do you want? is the question, How do you want to feel? This question has the power to transform how we LIVE each moment of our life and stretches us to seek out experiences that will leave us feeling a certain way. As Danielle LaPorte says, “Knowing how you want to feel is the most potent form of clarity you can have.” The practice of living out loud starts when we say YES to our desire-how it is we want to feel. But the living starts when we take one small action that allows us to experience that feeling.
So, how do YOU want to FEEL?
Make today matter most of all and know that what you DO matters,