Lessons from the Barre
I started taking dance classes at the ripe age of four. I remember putting my ballet shoes in my pink bag, pulling on my leotard, and being so excited to get to class. I also remember the butterflies I would get as my mom’s car took its spot in the parking lot each week. By the time she walked me through the door to the studio I would be in full-fledged panic mode, too afraid to step onto the dance floor.
Week after week this cycle of excitement crashing into fear would recur. Each time my mom would hold my hand, walk me into class, and take her spot at the ballet barre next to me. She stood by me, urging me on, and refusing to let my fear get the best of me. She did this until I finally learned to take my place at the barre alone. Before long I not only learned to overcome my fear but had actually learned to love every dance class, parade, and competition.
Deciding to Launch
I think back on that time in our first few weeks of launching The Single Diaries. All those years ago my mom had taught me a valuable lesson in embracing my fear. As we pliéd side by side, she showed me that tackling fear doesn’t have to be done alone. She also made me recognize the value we can bring to each other simply by showing our support.
For nearly one year I thought about launching the site before I took any action. While I was thrilled by the idea of creating a space where I could connect with like-minded ladies, the thought of going public with my personal stories was (is) intimidating. In my heart I knew it was what I wanted to do but my fear of failure held me back.
It was my mom’s lessons that ultimately got me over that fear. I started to share the idea with friends (like Catherine!) and got their feedback to push forward. Once again I was reminded that when you surround yourself with good people they are there to support and strengthen you, not to tear you down.
There were many reasons for starting The Single Diaries but sharing this lesson – the true value in building amazing friendships with other aspiring women- ranks at the top of the list.
Embracing the Fear
When you put yourself out there, you face the risk of people not responding as you hope. I think for me that is always the biggest fear. It’s not the challenge itself that is daunting; it’s the uncertainty of success. While embracing my fear led me to launch TSD, I can think of many others situations in which my fear of failure has held me back. Though I loved dance I never tried out for the dance team in high school because I assumed all the other girls were better. In college, I stuck to a traditional major (business) instead of going after something more creative which felt unsafe. At graduation I chose to take the job and steered away from taking a year off to travel, which is what I really wanted to do. I did all of these things because I was afraid I would fail and I didn’t want my ego to be torn down.
We all want to feel like we are invincible. The problem is that this need to be invincible has a way of holding us back from things that might prove us otherwise. We steer clear of the challenges that might bring us down instead of taking them head on.
I find this to be truer of the women I meet than of the men. Men seem to have this unfaltering confidence in themselves and their ability to achieve success at whatever they set out to do. There’s a lesson in that confidence that I think we can all learn from. At the end of the day, believing in yourself is the most important thing. And if you do fail, well how bad is it really? When you think about how much worse it could be, our fears are really not that scary after all.
The Single Diaries Challenge
My challenge for this community is to embrace your fear and not run from it. Recognize what it is that is holding you back, and let it go. Look outside of yourself and know that you have people who are there to cheer you on and, in the instance that you do stumble, they’ll be there to catch you when you fall.
Just as my mom, Catherine and other friends in my life helped me to get past my fear, I hope The Single Diaries can become part of the support system that inspires you to overcome whatever holds you back. I’m still digesting that lesson, but I truly believe in the ability of this new community of women to encourage others to take the first steps together. And when we do, we will all be on the road to accomplishing great things.
Jen Hacker continues to embrace her four-year old dancer by staunchly choosing to walk only on her tips toe. She does this now while simultaneously serving as a founder of The Single Diaries.
One of the aims of TSD is to leave our readers with something that inspires you to make your life a little better each day. As we start off on this new challenge, we want to know what is it that you want to achieve and what’s holding you back?