To The Person Who Is Afraid Of Taking Chances

We are about to get more personal than I choose to be on this blog…But somethings just need to be said. I need you to read this with an open heart and mind. What I am about to share with you is more important than anything I have ever shared with you.  We need to talk about taking chances. I get that you are scared of the unknown but one day not taking chances will catch up with you and you will wish you had.

To The Person Who Is Afraid Of Taking Chances

There I was sitting in a doctor’s office being told that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Frozen, scared and facing the unknown alone. I went to the doctors alone that day not telling anyone what was going on. It had been a week since they told me what they thought it was.  After an MRI and other tests to rule every other possibility out,  the news shocked me and I sat there wondering what’s next.

I was midway through culinary school and the effects of MS were already taking its toll.  Afraid that all of my hard work would be for nothing. I spent nights wondering what I was going to do next. Scared that all of my dreams were gone, I spent years hiding my diagnosis from everyone that I knew.  Hoping that they were wrong.

Three years later, after all of my symptoms worsened, I received my second diagnosis. A confirmation that I had the monster known as Multiple Sclerosis. This time, however, I accepted my fate. I began working at the local school and started to figure out my life with MS.

I Wish I would have taken More

Then I had a relapse and could barely get out of bed for a month. My right side went numb and weakened and scared me more than anything ever has before. I had a month of being stuck in bed thinking about what ifs. What if I would have said yes to that amazing internship? What if I would I have moved abroad when I wanted to? And what if I would have believed in myself to go after every dream while I had a chance?

All of these missed chances turned into a life of regret.  Here I am 24 and using a walker. Still trying to heal and wondering what’s next all over again.  Then I had an idea pop into my head. An idea that I had thought about over and over and always thought I wasn’t good enough to achieve but I took a risk. I decided to take a chance and I created this blog.

I could share my culinary creations and help people find their happiness even with all of the obstacles that get in our way. So I layed their helpless and designed a website from scratch and started writing.  This website has turned it into more than I could ever imagine. A safe space for my thoughts and hopes. A place to connect with all of you.

It has turned into a risk that has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine.  Life has a funny way of showing us that everything will be ok and that is what this website is about. Finding joy in the little things.

Why You Should Take More Chances

I was young, healthy, and unstoppable until one day I wasn’t. I didn’t believe that I would get sick at least not so young.  Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls right when we get too comfortable. I was thrown a major one and now wish that I had done more while I had the chance.

We are always waiting for something. Money? Love? Happiness? The more we wait, the further our dreams seem to be just out of our reach. Since coming to terms with my diagnosis I have learned that taking chances can deliver amazing rewards.

Chances you should take

Life is about trusting yourself and taking chances, losing and finding happiness, learning from experience, appreciating the memories, and realizing that every step is worth your while…  But you’ve got to be willing to take each step.  You’ve got to give yourself a fair chance.

Believing in Yourself

I believe in you and you should too! Believe that you CAN.  Believe that you’re capable of pushing harder and farther than you have before.  Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, smart enough and strong enough to achieve your goals.

Face Fear

Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in your head.  Be courageous.  Go after your goals.  Never let your fear steer your present or decide your future.  And remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is far more important than fear.

Stop Waiting and Live for Today

One day your life on earth will be over. Sorry to be so dramatic but it’s true. And we don’t know when it could be tomorrow of 50 years from now.  Are you choosing to live right now? This IS your time.  Life is now.  Do something with it.  Don’t wait for it away

Define Your Standards

To pretend that you don’t need love and respect when you do.  To lie to yourself and say everything is OK when it isn’t.  Or to convince yourself that you like your work when you know darn well you’re capable of much better.  Bottom line: Love yourself enough to never lower your standards for the wrong reasons.

Choose Joy

Don’t let one bad moment ruin your day.  Think of it as a bad minute, not a bad day, and you’ll be OK.

Tell yourself “You know what? I am going to be happy today. No matter what happens. I am going to smile and I am going to do things that make me happy. I am going to choose not to let outside influences affect my mood.

Put Yourself Out There and Truly LIVE

To laugh often and love genuinely.  To respect others and judge less.   To appreciate the beauty surrounding you wherever you are, whenever you are.  To find the good in people and situations.  To give what you can and leave the world a little better than you found it.  To have explored ideas and passions and sung at the top of your lungs in delight.  To know that at least one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is what LIVING is all about.

Your Turn! What are some risks that you have taken?

happier life

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Profile photo of joyfuliowan@gmail.com

114 Comments

  1. What an inspiring essay! A great reminder that our time is short and we need to take all the chances and do all the things we want to do. I love that you are using your wesbite to help other people find happiness and share your journey!

    • Profile photo of joyfuliowan@gmail.com

      Thank you! I had a harsh reminder that life is short and I want others to remember that before it is too late. This website has helped me more than I ever imagined and I love that I can help others.
      Jenn
      joyfuliowan.com

  2. This is such a beautiful post. Sometimes life will bring us really tough lessons but they can teach us how to truly live again. It’s never easy learning that you have a condition that is hugely life changing. I went through a similar process so when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 20. It was a concept that was so hard for me to swallow at such a young age but it has become such a driver for turning my life into a life I could love. The strength and motivation that we find in these challenges becomes an example for the people around us. Your story is truly inspiring and seems as it has led you to do something that you love and find joy in.

    • Profile photo of joyfuliowan@gmail.com

      Thank you for reading. I am so happy that you found strength it what others would view as a weakness. Life has a funny way of showing us how strong we are at the hardest time. Keep being strong while fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis!
      Jenn
      joyfuliowan.com

  3. Personally, I have taken a lot of chances over the past few years, but with starting my own business recently, I needed to hear this. Fear really can take over judgment and it´s really about taking risks without focusing on the results. My favorite is believing in yourself. It is such a simply concept, but we seem to overlook it. Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed reading your post.

  4. I love everything about this post, Jenn!May God bless you as you pursue, and Lord bring HEALING to this warrior. How inspiring you choose to find joy in the everyday. I am writing about dream chasing and persevering too! Today I posted an article titled “6 reasons giving up on your dreams is a terrible idea.” I’d love for you to visit when you have a minute. https://sarabrunsvold.com/

  5. This is such an important subject to share. We so often go through life thinking “I can do that tomorrow” or “Someday I’ll try that”, but the reality is life often gets in the way of those dreams. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I love this list, I am usually scared to take chances all the time and just accept staying in my own bubble,but I need to take that leap and see what I will find. Thank you for this post really inspiring.

  7. Thank you for this I really needed to read it. I especially loved the part about courage not being the absence of fear, I never thought of that before.

    I liked it so much I shared on a bunch of social media!

  8. this is a beautiful post. thank you for your honesty and thank you for sharing all of this wonderful advice. You never know what is going to happen so its always important to take chances…I couldn’t agree more, thank you!

  9. Before my boys were born I was an event coordinator for the NMSS (NJM Chapter) and I loved meeting people like you and hearing your stories – I swear with my whole heart that I have never met more brave, self-aware, or courageous people than I did when I was working a Walk or Bike event!

  10. The 5 tips you gave for living a life without regret are so awesome I’m sharing them to Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for sharing your experiences and inspiring others so live a fulfilling life.

  11. What an inspirational post. When I was 19, I picked up and moved to California randomly. Was the absolute best thing that I ever did in my life. I eventually moved back to the east coast, got married, and had children, but I have absolutely no regrets at all!! I think my adventures made me an interesting person, and I’ve always encouraged my children to do the same.

    Out of curiosity, what is the instagram plugin you are using (to put your instagram picture within your post)? I love it.

    ~ June ~ http://letgoofbeingperfect.com

  12. Great post and so very, very brave to share something so personal with us. You’ve gone through so much in such a short amount of time, this blog will be helpful to so many 💚

  13. Thank for fearlessly sharing your heart here. You are courageous beyond words. I too know what it feels like to have your life turned upside down and changed forever in a blink of an eye. Your perspective has challenged and inspired me. You are triumphant!

  14. Jenn thanks for sharing your story. It is sad that so many of us need strong reminders that nothing should be taken for granted. We are promised nothing and today is so important. Great advice!

  15. Great article. Ive also wrote something like this for my readers. The article is called: Stop waiting to be picked if you want to succeed and the link is on my name.

  16. I truly applaud you for taking something that changed your world and in return, you turned it into something pretty amazing – your blog. Being diagnosed with a disease can be so incredibly frightening and often during times of such turmoil is where we find our strengths. Various life events led me to feel very depressed, anxious, and withdrawn. My emotions were making me physically ill. Just as I was moving on from the fear, I happened to meet who would be my second husband. He lived across the country and I knew were belonged together and despite everything that said otherwise, I knew I needed to move to be with him so we could start a life together. The anxiety and depression took hold being so far from all I had ever known. It gradually made me increasingly ill (most recently with Hashimoto’s).. Then a year ago, I decided I needed to pull myself up and find meaning and inspiration. That’s when I found blogging. There are many things I would like to do with my blog that I can’t at this time, but I know I will get there. Thank you for such an authentic and inspiring post. I look to being in Iowa for the summer starting next weekend and I honestly hope to get a chance to chat with you in person. Take care!

  17. This is a beautiful essay, and your story is truly inspiring! I have found the same thing in life…the things I am most scared to do often end up bringing the most fulfillment and joy.

  18. Thank you for pouring your heart out and sharing your inspiring story. I don’t think anyone wants to live with regret but we often let so much get in our way. I’m encouraged by this reminder.

  19. Thanks soooo much for sharing your story. I hope you are feeling and doing amazing. I think this post will really inspire others and also motivate them to not let any illness take over their spirit. Thanks for sharing and being positive 💋

  20. Toni

    What a beautiful post and than you for sharing your story. As a nurse I can see this happen way too often, we need to live for today because we never know what we me face in the future. Thanks for the reminder.

  21. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! You are so right about taking chances. Sometimes it is so easy to let fear get in the way but you’ll regret it if you don’t try to do the things that you want to do! I haven’t taken many chances in my life and I am striving to change that. One chance I am taking is with starting my blog. I was kinda nervous at first just because I never feel good enough but the more I work at it the more comfortable I am becoming. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  22. Julie Mason

    Love, love , love this. Sos much is so true. I took a huge chance when I was 45, and it has paid off in spades. I only wish I had taken more when I was younger.

  23. This is such a beautiful and inspirational post. You never know what life has in store for you, good or bad, so is it important to take chances. I love that you are not recommending bungee jumping or anything, but taking the kind of chances that will make your life better, like choosing joy and never accepting less from yourself or the people around you. I am definitely taking your words to heart.

  24. I had a friend who had MS, but only discovered he had it after it hit him full on and he had to relearn to write his name, walk, talk, and everything! He has recovered fully, but with his meds still gets little symptoms here and there. Thank you for being so transparent!

  25. I absolutely love this! A lot of this comes down to mindset… When you’re programmed to be risk-adverse, you’ll continue to be risk-adverse. When you start programming your mind to just take a chance, you’ll start taking more of them… So really, it’s all about starting!

  26. This is truly inspirational and I love a brave soul. I used to be the kind of person who was always more worried about what people would say and what people would think of my actions until it dawned it on me that THIS IS MY LIFE and all the chances I take whether they’re good or bad I will face the consequence of. Nobody else! & that makes it ok.

    Thank you so much for posting!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

  27. Great post and a great reminder to live each day to the fullest. Don’t let any limitations limit your life dreams and goals. Thanks for sharing your story. Isn’t interesting how out of our greatest pain/struggles/ etc. come out greatest triumphs?! I wish you continued blessings and success.

  28. I completely agree with you that life has funny ways of showing us that everything will be okay. The main thing we have to do is to never give up.

  29. I love this list! I’ve got anxiety and it keeps me from doing some things that I want to be doing. I love how real and raw this post is. I’m doing more of the things that I’ve been dreaming about for years, and I’m finding more happiness than ever, despite the challenges of life!

  30. Thank you for sharing your story. I was diagnosed with a quite rare illness 2 years back. It was hard but I finally able to accept it. Agreed – to taking one day at a time and not letting other thing ruin the day.

  31. Great read! I have a hard time starting somethings because I might fail. I finally started my blog and figured what do I have to lose. You don’t know unless you try.

  32. Truly amazing that you took the time to share your story and be raw and vulnerable. Life is such a precious gift that can be altered at any second, whether we realize it at the time or not. I’m so happy that you’re making the best of your situation and spreading awareness to others like me. I AM the person who is scared of taking chances, but now you’ve made me look at it from a different viewpoint. Thank you for sharing your story!

  33. Lynda

    What an incredible woman you’ve become, Jenn. I love reading your blog and this most recent post cements why. Keep up the good fight and being an inspiration!

  34. This is beautifully written and what a gift it is to be able to share your story! There are so many people that need to hear this message (and hear it over and over again). Thank you for being vulnerable!

  35. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so easy to get bogged down in the what ifs and I can’ts but you have shown just why you should. I loved hearing a little about your story and want to thank you for giving a little piece of you to your readers. You are so strong and it is admirable.

  36. Victoria Schneider

    This is so beautiful. I love you heart and your encouraging words. It can be hard to open up to strangers, but I love that you are doing it in order to really help others.
    Victoria

  37. What an absolutely wonderful and inspiring essay. Sooner or later, we all have to face the mortality of our bodies. When it does, we surely do have to learn to take life as it comes and live it to the fullest anyway. You were so very young when it happened though. What an amazing and inspiring life.

  38. Kim

    This is an absolutely beautiful post, thank you for sharing your story. I know it’s not always easy to stay positive when you’re sick – my mum and no I both have auto immune diseases and there are days where I just want to give up. I too found sanctuary in writing and that was how my blog came to be, when my mum got sick and ended up in hospital I needed something to distract myself when I was at home.

  39. What an inspiring story you’ve got there… It gives me a certain boost to fight those fears of mine and risk more, because the outcome is for sure more rewarding than staying on my couch watching tv.

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