The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Be Brave. Take Risks. Nothing Can Substitute Experience.

I’d love to take credit for the catchy title of this post but sadly it is a quote I “borrowed” from the author Paul Coehlo. While I can’t take credit for the quote, it doesn’t diminish the importance of these simple but powerful words.

Life seems pretty risky sometimes. From feeling nervous about wearing red sneakers because they’ll make your feet stand out (a favorite post of mine from a fellow blogger about anxiety) to setting your sights on a dream and taking the steps to make it come true even though you might fail, there is much to be fearful about in the world.

As someone who has actually survived and is thriving in my adulthood, I’m here to tell you that you will be ok and the worst you can imagine is almost never going to happen. Ok, I lied. Sometimes the worst may actually happen. Here’s a personal example. When I was in college I started applying to graduate school. My grades were average, my GRE scores were crap and I was applying to pretty competitive programs. I was super nervous about it and guess what? Surprise surprise I didn’t get in. Was it the worst I could have imagined? Was I devastated? Yeah, I suppose so but it did make me volunteer for the professor I wanted to work with, take a graduate class to show I had what it takes to make the grade and take a test prep class to raise my GRE scores. When I reapplied did I get in? I sure did. In fact, I went on to get my Ph.D. but I doubt I would have ever gotten this far if I hadn’t taken the risk and learned from the experience. In fact, that experience is part of what makes me want to help you guys today. I am living proof that you don’t have to be a superstar to succeed and to live your dreams. You just have to take risks, work hard, try and try again and I promise you’ll get to where you want or need to be.

Here’s the best part about taking risks though – even if you fail, you will grow and learn SO much from the experience and by growing and learning, you become your True Self.

Now you tell me? What are you afraid to do? Where are you holding yourself back? When did you try, fail and come out all the stronger as a result? Share your stories with me and help other teens too!

Looking 4 a New Year’s Resolution? Here’s 1 That’s Easy but Scary!

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you have a New Year’s resolution? I actually think it’s fine if you don’t. I mean really, we are always changing, evolving and pursuing our goals…January 1st just gives us a nice clean start date on which to do so. But, around December 30th, the pressure mounts to bravely state your intended resolution for the year.

If you’re still looking for something to resolve to do and you want to move past some of the usual suspects like losing weight and exercising more (both admirable pursuits), why not try something that requires you to be a little more brave? It’s actually a pretty simple concept but it’s pretty scary to actually do but here it is: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

This doesn’t mean you need to go skydiving (but if that scares you and you have the opportunity one random day, go for it – you are braver than I!) It does mean, however, that you should take chances and push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit.

For example, it’s easy to just walk through life with your head down, eyes focused on your smart phone and not making eye contact with anyone. Eye contact can be a little scary though right? All of a sudden, you’re face to face with someone with their humanity (and your own) staring you back in your face. So why not make that the scary thing you do one day? Just make eye contact and smile. Why is this scary? It’s scary because it makes us vulnerable (What if they don’t smile back? What if they think I’m just some random smiling creepy weirdo?). We’re basically putting ourselves out there and it’s quite possible our smile or acknowledgment might not be returned. Scary right? But what happens if you do get a smile back? Or if you actually connect with someone for just a quick moment? You’ll feel happier and so will they, all because you took a chance and smiled.

Doing something scary doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. Have a difficult conversation. Try a food you’ve never had before. Listen to some music you have previously declared to despise. These aren’t big scary things but they are icky feeling and scary enough that we still usually don’t do them.

Resolve to scare yourself a bit this year. You’ll be amazed how your world opens up to meet you.