When I was 17 (or 18… who can really be sure at this point), I typed my name on the first of many dotted lines, effectively accepting a loan of tens of thousands of dollars that would go toward my college education.
Like Ariel signing on the dotted line under the watchful gaze of Ursula,
my eye was on the ultimate prize.
For her, it was an opportunity to be where the people were — on land.
For me, it was an opportunity to be where success was — on a college campus.
The decision to take out loans was based on the simple belief that a college education was the first step to a level of success and stability that would ensure a life where my needs and desires, including repayment, would be met.
"The decision to take out loans was based on the simple belief that a college education was the first step to a level of success and stability that would ensure a life where my needs and desires, including repayment, would be met."
Whereas Ariel needed legs to begin her journey, in my mind, I needed a degree.
Make that degrees.
My Little Mermaid moments were consistent bets on the institution of higher education and meritocracy. And since then, I’ve continued to take my chances.
I’ve bet on employers paying me a fair wage and offering some type of security to access my talents, skills, and expertise.
I’ve bet on people respecting the boundaries I’ve established to access my energy and time. And I’m willing to bet that you have, too.
In Ariel’s case, her bet didn’t turn out like she’d imagined, but such is the risk we all take, is it not?
After all, we each make bets each and every moment of each and every day as we trade our attention and resources for some type of payoff, for some type of “outcome.” And we do so with the objective understanding that results aren’t always guaranteed.
Whether it was a lackluster grade on a paper, being laid off from my first “real world” job out of graduate school, or relationships ending, there have been moments when I’ve had to wonder, “What now?”
When I formally launched my coaching business in January 2019, it was a bet on myself to use those same talents, skills, expertise, energy, and time on something that was mine.
And it’s continued to have a return.
The bet pays off when I sign out of my full-time role, exhausted, and switch over to my business because I’m fully aware that I am laying the foundation for the type of security I will never get when someone else is in charge of my career.
It pays off when I struggle to come up with content because I’m fully aware that someone in the world needs to hear the message I will eventually find the words to express in the way only I can.
It pays off even when—especially when—I’m not quite sure what my next move should be because I’m fully aware that the coaches I’ve hired, the support network I’ve formed, and the inner knowing I’ve tapped into make a powerful combination that will never steer me wrong.
Betting on myself has made all the difference, and I will sign on the dotted line time and time again.
"Betting on myself has made all the difference, and I will sign on the dotted line time and time again."
Because in a world with few guarantees, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am worthy of the trust and loyalty I’ve given to other people and institutions throughout my life.
So now I turn this over to you:
List them out… and then see where you appear on this list, if at all.
And most importantly, ask yourself:
I hope that as you enter your next chapter you go all in on yourself in whatever form it takes.
Image text: "Diana Morris is a Clarity Coach who specializes in helping people name what they actually want, identify their options, and make the decisions necessary to move forward. Think of her as your personal sounding board and strategist. Kind of like Grandmother Willow meets Olivia Pope."
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