I am writing you today from the coziness of my second-floor apartamento in Perugia, Italy. I chose this space because of its views out over the Umbrian hills, timeless church towers, and pretty little houses, all pastel-colored and varied in size. I wish you could be here with me, staring out over it all, feeling that the world is vast and that there’s very little in it that’s impossible.
Let’s pause for a moment and think about that statement.
I know what it’s like to feel like things are impossible. People have been saying that about my dreams since I can remember: They thought it was impossible, for example, when I was 14 years old, for me to raise $4,000 and spend a month in Australia. They thought it was crazy to move to New York City with no job and very little money to live on a stranger’s couch and start a new life.
Yet, I succeeded at both of those things.
They told me that if I changed my major from the semi-respectable Journalism to fluffy Creative Writing, I’d never make any money. That starving artist thing isn’t a joke!, they said.
I was also told that I was too young to start a business and that the economy was too bad. They didn’t think I could keep the business going while traveling full-time. They really didn’t think I could bring my dog with me.
And yet, again, here I am. I own my own business, writing and doing content strategy for clients on three continents. I travel the world with my dog. And when it comes to majors and business decisions, there’s not one thing I would have done differently.
Which just goes to show you that these timeless church landscapes and fog-shrouded hills with their anything-is-possible air are the ones you should trust. Because with a little ingenuity, a lot of respect for both others and yourself, some smart planning, and, most importantly, the ability to ignore the nay-sayers and step off the edge, you can do the things you want to do. You can change your life.
And if you don’t succeed the first time, remember that neither did so many brilliant people. J.K. Rowling has her share of rejection letters. Lucille Ball was dismissed from drama school. Michael Jordan was cut from the team in high school. Failure just means you’re trying. And so does success.
I am writing today to tell you that it’s okay to try. To tell you that failure isn’t as scary as you think. To tell you that success is even better than you think, but only when you succeed at your dreams (not someone else’s). I’m writing to tell you that anything is possible. That you are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, clever enough. That I believe in you.
So whatever it is you’re afraid of doing, it’s time to gather up your courage, make a plan, take a leap, and believe in yourself.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself living your wildest dreams.