My Gutsiest Move and How It Inspires Me Today
Here’s my #GetGutsy story: One of the gutsiest things I have ever done happened when I was 19 years old and a completely broke college student. I packed a few outfits into a green canvas duffle bag from Sunny’s Surplus, bought a one-way ticket to London, withdrew my life savings of $800 from my bank account and then hopped on a plane bound for London via New York out of Baltimore-Washington airport. I planned to live in England for five months. I knew no one. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had a bed at 7 Bedford Place in Bloomsbury. I was registered to take four liberal arts classes at the University of London, Kings College, which I also knew very little about. I was ready to take a leap of faith.
My home life was in complete chaos as my parents had separated a year earlier and my sister was away at the University of Richmond. I was bored. I was confused. It was time for a radical change and the exact thing that my soul needed. I knew that I wanted to:
- See the world.
- Meet new people.
- Immerse myself in another culture.
- Awaken my heart and get to know myself on a whole new level.
I was scared to death but I knew I needed to do SOMETHING brave and gutsy. I thought “it’s now or never!” I am so glad that I did what I did. My life was transformed and I’ve never looked back. This is a picture of me in front of Buckingham Palace on my journey:
As I spent five months traveling across the British Isles and Europe, I studied Shakespeare with a world authority. He took us to the places where Shakespeare wrote, lived and walked. It was amazing. I was mentored by leading academics from the London School of Economics, Cambridge and Oxford. The Universe placed these instructors on my life path. The other benefits of my decision included:
- I met students from around the globe. Thanks to Facebook, we are still friends today.
- It sparked a lifelong passion for the arts and architecture.
- It taught me that taking risks can pay off.
- I learned so much about myself and about life in that five months.
- I got the travel bug and it’s never gone away.
From a personal branding perspective, this experience paved the way for me to have three international corporate job assignments. My understanding of cross-cultural communications helped me land these roles.
Ultimately, the hardest part about my semester abroad experience was coming home to America. My re-entry to my small college in February 1986 was difficult to say the least. What I realized was that I had GROWN UP. I had seen the world. I had experienced life in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. I quickly decided to accelerate my coursework so that I could graduate early and enter the workforce. I’ve had amazing travel abroad in both my work and personal life because I chose to be gutsy at nineteen. I tell more about my study abroad experience in my upcoming book Conquer Shame + Claim Success that is slated for release on Amazon in early 2017.
This one decision to be gutsy taught me a valuable lesson in GRATITUDE, too. I am grateful that I was able to move to England when I did. I am grateful that I met the people who I met and experienced the places like Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and more. I am grateful that I took the classes that I took in the city of London. I am grateful that I made the decision at nineteen to do it, even though I had no money, knew no one and my home life was in chaos.
So what’s the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done or having been wanting to do? It might just be the thing that you need the MOST to move forward in your life.
Do it. Your dreams should actually scare you a bit. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
I invite you to join my Facebook Group “Brave Pioneers” and tell me the story of the gutsiest move you’ve ever made. This experience is something that I still talk about when I am telling my back story. It still inspires me.
It’s never too late, my friend.