You got into your dream school, earned the degree, and landed the job you always wanted. You have a beautiful apartment, found the right guy, and hit your goal weight. You've checked all the boxes that should guarantee you are living your dream life. But then one day it hits you-the life you are living has nothing to do with your dream. You want to live out your purpose and unlock the dream that's been in your heart, but you don't know how to move forward. As a result, you've developed insecurities like 'I'm not ready' or 'I'm afraid to fail' or 'I'm not pretty enough.' These insecurities keep you stuck and keep the dream locked in your heart. Stefany Banda wants to help you unlock that dream. In The Next You, Stefany offers the push you need to break through the limiting insecurities that have been holding you back. Her no BS, real and relatable approach will teach you how to put in the work to get unstuck-and become the you that you've always wanted to be.
1. The Insecurity: "I'm Not Ready"
Have you ever cried in a public restaurant? Actually, let me rephrase that. Have you ever sobbed your brains out in a public restaurant? I'm not talking about in an Applebee's or a family restaurant where you may have done so as a four-year-old. I'm talking about as a full-grown adult, losing your shit at one of the most popular, trendy restaurants in the heart of Nashville. No? Just me? Okay, cool.
If you've ever been to Nashville, you've probably eaten at Bartaco. If you haven't, it's probably because you didn't feel like waiting three hours for a table on a Tuesday afternoon. It's a tourist hot spot for the best tacos and margaritas, and the occasional Nashville celebrity spotting. That being said, it isn't the most ideal location to have a good ol' ugly cry session in. But don't worry, I did!
Let me give you a little bit of context, so you don't think you're about to take life advice from an emotionally unstable person. I grew up and lived in Michigan for the first twenty-four years of my life-until I decided to take the leap, leave home, and move to Nashville for a new chapter. I didn't know a single person there, had never lived alone before, and was scared beyond belief. Still, I knew that it was time to put my fears aside, so my mom and I drove nine hours from my small Metro Detroit suburb to Nashville. We unpacked my life into a tiny studio apartment and voilá.my new chapter had begun.
Now, back to sobbing at Bartaco. It was Sunday night, and my mom and I had stopped for dinner before I dropped her off at the airport to fly back home. We were nonstop busy the entire weekend. I didn't really have time to soak in the fact that I wasn't just on vacation-this was my new home. I knew it would hit me at some point, but I didn't think it would happen at dinner over chips and guacamole.
I somehow managed to get out my margarita order to our waitress, but the second she walked away.the full-on ugly cry made its debut. My mom looked at me like she knew this was coming.
"I just don't feel ready," I cried. "I don't feel ready for you to leave me, and I really don't feel ready to live in a state where I don't know a single person!"
My mom tried to comfort me, assuring me that I was ready, but lord knows that didn't help. I remember trying to hide my ugly cry face behind a menu, while trying to blot my running mascara with a napkin. It felt like the tears just wouldn't turn off. Then out of nowhere, country singer Jessie James Decker and her husband Eric Decker walked into Bartaco and sat at a booth right next to us. I don't know why, but something in that very moment changed my perspective.
This was why I moved to Nashville. Not to sit next to celebrities at dinner but for the excitement and unknown possibilities of what could happen if I broke out of my comfort zone. Don't get me wrong, I love where I grew up-Michigan is a beautiful place. It is, and always will be, where I call home. It's my safe place. While those might seem like good reasons to stay somewhere, they were also the reasons why I decided to leave.
Like I mentioned in the introduction, I have a feeling that, if you picked up this book, you are a dreamer. You have gigantic, scary, mountain-moving dreams and expectations for your life. I hate to break it to you, but if you want those dreams to become a reality.there is one place you have to stay far, far away from-and that is your comfort zone.
Cliché, I know. But it's true. I want you to try something. Picture your comfort zone. Who's there? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it smell like? I'm serious-get that specific.
My comfort zone is at home. More specifically, my family's lake house in northern Michigan. It sits back in the woods on a beautiful private lake. It smells like a combination of fresh-cut grass, sunscreen, sangria, and bonfire smoke. I'm surrounded by family and friends. Life feels simple, slow, and worry-free-kind of like a cheesy country song. There are no challenges or conflicts-no mountains to move. It's easy.
Now, picture leaving that comfort zone or happy place. How do you feel? Sad, scared, anxious, overwhelmed, and awkward are probably a few words that come to mind. You probably don't feel ready, and I don't blame you for that. Who would choose to leave a place so comfortable and familiar? No one! I'm going to let you in on a little secret, though-the ones who do make the brave choice to leave their comfort zone are the same ones who make their dreams a living, breathing reality.
In my particular case, staying at home in Michigan wasn't necessarily holding me back or hurting me. However, when it came to my dreams, I felt limited. I wasn't growing as much or at the pace I wanted to. I was stuck in my old ways-and old ways won't open new doors.
Maybe your comfort zone isn't home. It could be your current job position that is secure but stagnant. Maybe your comfort zone is Netflix and the couch, instead of the gym. Your comfort zone could be being alone at home, instead of at a crowded bar or concert. Your comfort zone doesn't have to be a physical place. It can also be a state of mind. It can be your habits or daily routine. It's a state in which everything feels comfortable, familiar, and in control. Sounds great, right? Wrong!
Before I dive in and convince you that you are ready to leave your comfort zone, I want to set one thing straight. There is nothing wrong with spending some time there. At times, it's what we truly need. That's okay-but don't take your shoes off, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get too comfortable. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. And trust me, you have a lot of growing to do.
"I'm not ready" is an insecurity that develops within us when we are too afraid to see what's on the other side. We can say it in relation to a job, a relationship, a move, or even just a new workout class. It's human nature to fear the unknown. However, it is possible to overcome that fear-by shifting it to excitement. I know that sounds strange, but hear me out for a second.
I first heard about this approach from a mentor and it blew my mind. Think about how you feel when you are experiencing fear or anxiety-your heart rate increases, your palms get sweaty, and your stomach fills with butterflies. It's kind of like that Eminem song, "Lose Yourself"-hopefully without that whole vomit-on-your-sweater part. Now, think about how you feel when you are experiencing excitement-your heart rate increases, your palms get sweaty, and your stomach fills with butterflies. That's right-both fear and excitement produce the exact same responses in our body. The difference between the two is based on your interpretation.
Let's use riding a roller coaster as an example. Waiting in line for a roller coaster, you'll find there are two types of people. You have the adrenaline junkies fighting for the front row, and then you have the terrified people who don't even want to be there in the first place. Physically, both types of people feel the exact same way. They both feel jittery-their hearts are pounding and their adrenaline is pumping. The only difference is their way of thinking, which we, as humans, have the power to control and ultimately change.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it-this is not easy. Trying to convince your mind to shift its way of thinking takes a lot of practice. Moving to a city where I didn't know a single person felt like the scariest thing in the world to me. Instead of feeling fear and focusing on the negative, though, I tried my best to shift that fear to excitement and focus on the positive. If I had let all of my fears defeat me, I would have never made it to Nashville. And if I had never made it to Nashville, I would have never experienced the tremendous personal growth that I did. I also would have never met my fiancé, Nick-which means I would have never moved to Austin. And if I had never made the move to Austin.well, you get the idea. One brave "yes" can lead to so much possibility and opportunity.
Long story short, if I had never said "yes" to myself and moved to Nashville, I would not be sitting here, writing this book to inspire you to go after your monster dreams. It sounds pretty far-fetched and dramatic, but it just proves that all it takes is one decision. The whole course of your life can change because you decided, in that one little brave moment, to choose excitement instead of fear-and to make the jump before you felt "ready."
If you are usually a rule follower, or someone who isn't excited by the idea of taking risks, acting before you are ready can feel overwhelmingly wrong and even stupid. This is normal! I'm a Type A kind of gal. I want-actually I...