Atlantic Draft

Letting Go of Vulnerability: Designing Your Life

Content for the MindNina Cudney

For many, the acceptable way to live our lives is to work for someone else until we retire...if we are able to retire. We operate on the assumption that if something seems too good to be true, then steer clear. 

Brene Brown described it best in one of her Ted Talks. Picture this: You and your family are at the airport getting ready for a trip of a lifetime to Disney. You have all been dreaming about this vacation for years! With Mickey ears and shorts and T-shirts, you board the plane. The pilot comes on over the speakers and tells you it's time for take-off. The engine starts up and the plane begins to move. What happens next is classic for so many of us...

The thoughts of Mickey and Minnie disappear into the abyss and to the forefront comes visions of the plane crashing. Why does this happen? It's simple. As Brene so eloquently puts it - humans have an intolerance to vulnerability. We live in a world of "what if..." and it hinders so many of us from living an extraordinary life. How do I know this? Because I was guilty of this...and sometimes I still am. 

As a writer and a lifestyle coach, I speak to so many people on a daily basis about life and all of the twists and turns along the way.  If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say that they "...wish they could just..."
That sentence usually ends with something like:

"...work from home..."
"...make more money..."
"...be a better parent..."
"...lose weight..."
"...do what I love and get paid for it..."

What I find fascinating is the moment when I turn it around and say, "...why can't you...?" I get similar responses every time. 

"Nina, seriously?"
"I don't even know where to start."
"I don't have the time."
"Are you crazy?"
"People would think I'm nuts!"

See, we set ourselves up for defeat before we even enter the battle - we worry that we might lose. 

"And you ask, What if I fall?
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
-Erin Hanson-

So many of us are intimidated by the effort that goes into designing our own life. What we're forgetting is that putting effort into a passion rarely feels like "work". Take me for example...

I have been an "employee" for over 20 years. The mindset never felt right and I always felt as though I was meant for something bigger and more fulfilling. TWENTY YEARS! Talk about living in a world of "what if..."! I would find myself tapping into my passions of coaching others to a more fulfilling life, writing for others whenever I could and even just writing for myself...simply to clear my mind. 

Then everything changed. Over the past year, I have been alongside a cousin of mine who has been through a horrific cancer diagnosis and treatment process. She is young - the same age as I am. She has two young children - same ages as mine. I have been forced to face my own mortality and figure out what my purpose is - and then make it happen. Has it been scary? Sure - anything worth fighting for usually is. Have I faced doubters and skeptics? Of course. When you truly grasp the reason that you - uniquely you - were put on this Earth, the path is nowhere near as daunting as you would expect. Being forced to look at how truly short life is, I knew I had to take action - and fast. 

I took what wasn't working for me in my life, started on the journey to "fix" those things and then began to assist others to do the same. I wanted to write for the sole purpose of connecting with other people to inspire them and be a cheerleader in a world filled with wrecking balls. Have I put forth the effort to make this happen? Without a doubt. Has it felt like "work"? Never. Not for one minute. When I coach others to improve their physical and financial well-being, I feel alive and energized. When I write and find out that my words touched someone on an emotional level, I feel fulfilled and complete. 

Please take my word for it - borrow my belief if you don't have it yet yourself. Life is short. Live with passion, purpose and LIVE OUT LOUD!

Much love...