No Longer Afraid

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Photo credit: Toa Heftiba

Ok, so the title may be a little misleading because I am still a little afraid from time to time. I think you wouldn’t be normal if you weren’t a little frightened by something. I assure you this isn’t click-bait, there are some great nuggets of wisdom that I wish to impart. I’ve been reading some fantastic books lately and I think when you come across something that is life changing you shouldn’t keep it to yourself. You should share it with the world. Some of my favorite books are ones that have inspiring messages and motivate me to be or do better. This book definitely resonated with me on this journey that I’ve begun.

The book is called “Rejection Proof”, written by Jia Jiang. Jiang explains in detail how he conquers his fear of rejection by using a tool called “rejection therapy”. Sounds crazy, right? He had been part of the corporate world for some time making a comfortable income but wasn’t happy in his job. He leaves the safety of this job and all its benefits to chase his dreams. Whoa, talk about scary! What happens is Jiang becomes so paralyzed by this fear of being rejected that he seemingly can’t move forward. (Been there!!!!) Jiang comes up with one hundred different ways he can be rejected so he can, essentially, become desensitized to this fear. Its an amazing story that has helped transform so many lives.

So what makes the fear of rejection so terrifying? Its been said it is one our deepest human fears. We are wired with an incredible need to belong. We want to be loved and feel of value to the people we come in contact with on a day to day basis. In his book, Jiang explains what happens to us as individuals scientifically when we experience rejection. During a brain study when participants were placed in certain social situations to face rejection, it was revealed that the opioid system was activated. Typically, opioids are released during times of distress or pain in animals. Pain. It almost physically hurts us to be rejected socially.

I’m going to tell you a little story. This time last year I felt God telling me it was time to leave my job. This was a huge leap of faith and I didn’t know if the music world would accept me. What was even more terrifying was my husband came to me at nearly the exact same time saying he felt God was telling him to leave his job to pursue his remodeling business full time. “Excuse me, whaaa?” We have lost our minds. We were also in the process of moving aaaaand, surprise, you’re pregnant. God must have gotten His signals crossed. When money started to get tight I began to panic. And when the phone calls started coming in with past due bills it was one of the scariest times of my life. Maybe I was wrong. I will just find something really quick to tide us over. So I applied for a job. And another job. And another job. And was rejected every time. For awhile, I thought, “What is wrong with me?” I was applying for every job I was qualified for and in the past would have been hired almost immediately. What was happening? So for a year, instead of chasing the dreams God had put in my heart I did almost nothing. If I was being rejected for jobs I didn’t truly desire, how could I possibly put myself out there for something I really wanted? That would be devastating.  It would destroy me.

During that time I was heavily pregnant so I had no choice but to sit and be still with God. A lot. And it was in those times of stillness that I heard the familiar call to my heart. In those moments I knew I was where I was supposed to be and pointed in the direction I needed to be going. But I was stuck. I thought if I had left my job a year ago and if I was doing what God told me to do that things would just happen. I had allowed fear of rejection to creep in and paralyze me into inaction. (that is a dangerous place to be, friends) So I knew I had to figure out how to get past this fear. I listened to all the affirmation tapes, motivational speakers, and read all the self-help books I could get my hands on to prime my mind in a different way. (“Rejection Proof” was one of them) And during this time God lined up an incredible person in my life that can be described as nothing short of destiny. (more to come in another post) She became my life coach and has transformed my life forever.

I’ve often heard “Prayer plus Action equals Miracles”. I had definitely done a lot of the praying but what Charlotte, my life coach, helped me do was take action. I didn’t know how I was going to do this, I didn’t know if I could find the time with three little children, and I was still wounded from being rejected so often. But one of the most important things she taught me was to just take one step at a time. Our favorite line that she uses with me constantly is, “Don’t think. Do.” I had to get past the fear and just take a little step. And then another step. I didn’t know what was going to happen a few paces ahead but I could handle that one little step. Amazingly, things began to happen. And really fast. I released my album, I created my own website, started to do my own marketing, and began this blog. I am overwhelmed with what has happened in such a short amount of time.

“But Jacquie,” I hear you say. “I can’t do that. I am too old, that sounds too hard, I don’t have the time.” I get it. I’ve been there and used that same script. Rejection can be so excruciatingly painful that instead of taking a chance we play it safe. We don’t make that phone call. We don’t ask that girl out. We don’t seize that opportunity. And while it might make us feel secure to put up those walls for a little while eventually the walls become so high you can’t get over them.  A lifetime of these dangerous choices that at the time kept us safe will eventually keep us from soaring. I don’t know about you, dear ones, but I think the battling the fear of rejection sounds a lot better than regret.

A lot of this can be credited to Charlotte, although she would humbly deny all the credit. But I know that after I was given the push from her that I ultimately made the choice. You always have a choice in this life. I could have chosen to live in fear and play it safe to avoid any unnecessary pain but I chose to get a little comfortable with being uncomfortable. I still have fear from time to time. It’s normal!!! But I am learning to take the steps in spite of my fear. I am so glad that I could share this story with you and I pray that it will serve you in some way. Please share this with someone that you think may need to hear the message. I love you beyond all words.

 

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ~ Joseph Campbell

 

 

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Tales from the Pit Crew of Cars 3

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I finally broke down and took our oldest son to his first ever movie at the theater. He had been begging to see Cars 3 and had been doing really well with his responsibility chart as well as adjusting to the new baby. It was the perfect date and reward for him. What I didn’t know is how much I was going to receive out of the experience too. (For those of you who haven’t seen Cars 3 you might want to stop reading right now because there are a few spoilers ahead.)

As a mom of two boys I quickly adjusted to the world of cars, trains and planes. Thank you, Disney, for making some great classics these precious little gentlemen can enjoy too. We had seen Cars 1 and Cars 2 and they are constantly on rotation in the Cruz household. (I can quote any line. Seriously, test me.) When Cars 3 came out this past weekend I was one of the first to buy tickets. I love the messages my sons can get out of them especially from Cars 1. The biggest takeaways being: 1: Friendship is so very important 2: Acceptance is paramount (especially needed for today) and 3: It’s not always about winning.

Cars 3 certainly didn’t disappoint for this little four year old and his mama. Our favorite character, Lightening McQueen, begins to be intimidated by the new up and coming rookies. They are younger, faster and oftentimes ruthless. He gets a new coach who he quickly becomes frustrated with because her training method is not up to his standards. At one point a feud takes place between McQueen and his coach, Cruz Ramirez, and he accuses her of not understanding what it is like to be a race car since she is “just a coach”. This obviously struck a nerve with Ramirez when she explains to him that she didn’t always want to be a coach. She had once dreamed of being a legend like McQueen but quickly had her bubble burst when she was told she did not belong on the track.

Let me tell you this brought a tear to my eyes. (yes, I’m admitting I cried in a Cars Disney movie. It was dark and no one could see, ok?!?!) I know what that’s like and I’m betting a lot of you out there know what that feels like too. To train so hard for something or study so extensively in a field of business only to be told, “Maybe this (fill in the blank) isn’t for you.” I’m thirty one years old and I could very easily be a coach and find happiness in teaching for the rest of my life. But I would miss the thrill of the race. The thrill of performing, in my case. How is it that we allow people to tell us what we can and cannot do? If God creates a dream in our hearts, who are others to tell us that isn’t possible? I could have let those people squash my dreams long ago. I could have said, “You’re absolutely right,” and moved on to something more “practical”. Whatever that means. I could have let all those words get into my head and talk me out of something I was born to become. But I refused to let those words take root. As said from one of the Cars characters, “Funny what you can do when you stop overthinking it.”

What I love about this movie is the sense of hope it instills for all ages. Its something I long to impress upon my children. You can do whatever you want to do. You can be whatever you choose to be. No one can tell you, “You don’t belong on this track.” And just  like Ramirez said at the end of the movie you can scream behind you as you leave the naysayers in the dust, “YES. I. DO!!!!!!!”

What is one thing you are going to do today towards your dream? Love to read about it in the comments. I love you all.

 

Hallelujah!!!!

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Goodness gracious! I don’t know why I felt so victorious for linking up a simple blog account to my Go-daddy website but hallelujah! This picture describes what I’m feeling to a T. I have been trying to put this blog together for over a week. “A WEEK?!” you say. I’ve been thinking about doing it for a few years. Believe me, I know. It shouldn’t have been that hard. But for someone who isn’t as tech savvy this is a Yuge (in Donald Trump voice) deal for me. For so long I have been trying to get my music career off the ground and waiting for everyone else to help me take flight. I waited for my dad to make the phone calls. I waited for people to get back to me. I waited for the right equipment, experience, or person to show up. And I waited, and waited and waited. And you know what happened?……..Nothing. I knew this was my dream. I knew this is what God wanted for my life. So why weren’t things happening?

Then one day I heard a story that really resonated with me. (forgive me, I’m paraphrasing)

A man was walking down the road one day and passed by a house where an elderly couple sat on their rocking chairs enjoying the morning. On that porch laid an old dog that howled and wailed as he lay. The man thought that was odd but kept walking by. The next day he walked by the same house again and sure enough the old dog lay in the same spot and howled even louder. The man decided if he was still howling when he came the next day that he would ask the old couple why the dog howled. Sure enough, that third day he passed the familiar porch and the old dog was wailing! “Ok,” said the man. “Why is that poor, old dog carrying on like that?” The old woman stopped rocking and said, “Why he’s sitting on a nail,” “What!?” declared the shocked man. “Well, why doesn’t he move?” The old woman shrugged. “It doesn’t hurt him bad enough, I guess.”

Oh, that last line still makes me shudder. Does this story hit hard for some of you? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we let something in life get so painful and uncomfortable until we move? Why do some of us no matter how frustrated, beat down, torn up, and abused NEVER decide (and decide is the key word here) to move? I decided this was not going to be my story. And this story (among several other motivating events featured on future posts) was one of the things that helped trigger a turning point for me. This blog is meant to inspire, uplift, make you laugh, make you cry and motivate you to change your story. If I can figure out connecting a blog to a website… if I can change my story…you can too.