That thing you’ve always wanted to do? Just f’ing do it. {My best advice for a happy and full life.}

“The next time you encounter fear, consider yourself lucky. This is where the courage comes in. Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear.”
~Pema Chodron

You know that thing you have always wanted to do, but are afraid of?

You should just fucking do it.

That is my very best advice for living a happy, fulfilled life.

As I have become a slightly more public figure in the yoga world, people often comment that they could never do what I have done; they couldn’t handle the pressure, they just aren’t brave enough.  As I put more and more of my personal story out for others to see, yoga teachers often comment that they would love to have a full private practice like I do, but they never could because they don’t have the time, resources, or guts.  Sometimes smart, skillful yoga teachers pull me aside, and ask for my secrets. “You seem to have it so together! How did you become so fearless?”

“Starting your own business is so risky!”
“Teaching private yoga clients is so vulnerable and intense…”
“Depending solely on unreliable private yoga clients to support you, in such an expensive city, is crazy!”
“You are so courageous…”

So I would like to set the record straight.  I am not immune to anxiety and self doubt.

I am not fearless.

This is what the dictionary has to say about courage:

the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain, without fear

But if that is the case, if acting with courage means you face difficulty and pain without fear, then I am not courageous at all.

I am afraid, all the time.

I was terrified when I decided to forgo academic studies for a dance program in college, graduating with a BFA in Modern Dance Performance and no marketable skills that could actually pay the rent.

I was sick with dread when I moved to NYC from Philly two days after graduation all by myself.

I was shaking with fear when I taught my first yoga class and ridden with anxiety when I decided I didn’t want to dance anymore and wanted to try to spend my days {and support myself} teaching yoga full time.

I was petrified when I went surfing for the first time in Panama, in an ocean filled with deadly sting rays.

I walked on to a teeny tiny plane to go skydiving for the first time with the weight of terror on my chest.

I was apprehensive when I gave an ex a second chance, {and moved to a new city with him!}, but I knew I had to do it anyway.

I was nauseous and brokenhearted when I left said relationship, only 8 months after moving to DC together, and weeks before my 30th birthday. There was no other choice to be made.

I just returned home from three solo weeks in Thailand. It was one of the hardest, scariest, most rewarding three weeks of my life. {More thoughts from that trip coming soon.}

In the summer of 2014, I had a filmmaker come and film me as I taught several yoga sessions to private clients. On that sticky July day, as I was walking down 6th Ave with the camera following me, I was wishing I could crawl in a hole and die. It was one of the scariest, most vulnerable things I have ever done. I was nervous on so many different levels. I was worried about the student who would be filmed with me, I was worried about the yoga teachers who would eventually watch the video, and I was worried about myself. For my student, I wanted to make sure that her session was useful and meaningful and I wanted to protect her from the stress of being filmed and visible to the world; for the teachers watching, I wanted to teach a session that would be instructive and useful; and on top of all that, I was worried about how I was going to look in the video! More importantly I was worried about how my teaching and my way of being would translate into the medium of a video. Would it still be me on the flat screen of a computer? I absolutely wanted to die.

And just last month, I finally got the tattoo I have been thinking about for 10 years. I got it in a place everyone told me was the worst possible place to get a tattoo…the rib cage. I was panic-stricken walking into the tattoo parlor. {And it did hurt like a motherfucker.}

If acting without fear is what makes one courageous, then that is definitely not me.

I am afraid all the time.

The root word for courage comes from the Latin cor, which means heart.

My dictionary said this:

Obsolete meaning: the heart as the source of emotion and action

I don’t think that meaning is obsolete. I think what makes someone courageous is when they act from their heart. I do feel courageous. I do things all the time that are scary and hard and painful and vulnerable. I am afraid all the time, and I never let that stop me from doing the things I want to do. {I learned that from my mom.} This has made my life big and full, and I am wildly grateful for the amazing, terrifying, exciting, and painful experiences I have had, and the fantastic relationships that hold and support me in my life.

But I am not special. You get to have a big, full, happy life also.

That thing you have always wanted to do? You should just do it. Risk, self-doubt, and fear be damned. It’s the clearest path I can see to a life of meaning and joy, and we all deserve to have such a life.

If I look fearless to you, and you find that inspiring, I am glad. But I need you to know, I am not fearless. I am worried and anxious and struggle with vulnerability just like you.

We all deserve a life that moves and breathes with a feeling of wholeness and is not weighed down by regrets. That life is yours for the taking dear.

Tell me loves, what is something you have always wanted to do, but are afraid of?

13 Responses to “That thing you’ve always wanted to do? Just f’ing do it. {My best advice for a happy and full life.}”

  1. Jewels

    Thank you, Francesca, for your timely wisdom. It’s probably circumstantial, but it seems that some of the articles I read are so timely. I have just moved to a new state, got married, don’t know anyone except my husband, and want to teach privately. I had already made that decision before learning of your awesome self through your YA webinar (which was FANTASTIC by the way). I haven’t attended any classes here yet because I had sciatica this fall and am weak and out of shape and embarrassed. This is also making me afraid to attend a week-long certification program that I think would help me jump start my career here. Interestingly, last night I was talking to my new husband about my fear, and I told him that I was just going to push through it because, well, I just HAVE to. So, thank you again for your willingness to share your vulnerability to us, and enabling me to face mine. Namaste.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Ah, Jewels, you are most welcome. I am so happy you found my webinar helpful. I loved offering it, and my highest intention is to help yoga teachers feel grounded and confident in their teaching skills. I am sorry to hear about your troubles with sciatica, and the affects that has had on you and your life. You may not know this part of my story, but I was very seriously injured in my early 20s, and I spent the first two years I was a full time yoga teacher walking with a cane. I couldn’t practice asana at all, I was in tremendous pain and also out of shape and embarrassed. So totally know how you are feeling right now. All I can say, my dear, is that the only way out is through. One foot in front of the other {sometimes very slowly}. We are all rooting for you. <3

  2. Gail

    Thankyou for your heartfelt post. Timely for the New Year – & for me as I’ve made the decision to expand my private yoga business this year. You are so right – feel the fear & do it anyway!! I’ll also be sharing your post with my teenage daughter; never too old or too young to go for it! Thankyou again for sharing, I love to read your posts.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Yes, absolutely Gail. Thank you so much for being a part of our community here! Let us know how the expansion of your private business is going, and how I might support you. XO

  3. Catarina

    Thank you so much for this blogpost Francesca, it made my day (and it will set the tone for 2015 for sure). You put words on what I am constantly feeling but unable to express in such a good way. I enjoyed every word and I am so glad I found your online webinar on Yoga Alliance website which lead me to your site! The best inspiration as I was looking for some comfort knowing that I will start this year off with doing all those scary things you are mentioning; starting up my own yoga business (hopefully with focus on private sessions which I prefer myself). I am not close to as experienced as you but I know this is something I have to do, and most important of all; I just need to start doing it! Listening to some sort of tiny voice deep down inside ;).

    Wishing you a lovely 2015, and you have now gained a new follower :). Lots of shanti from Norway.

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are so so welcome Catarina. Ah, I love having people like you hanging out with me. 🙂 Good for you for doing the scary, but right and good thing! I know it isn’t easy. Do you know about the free video training being released on January 13th? It is an inside look into a real private session with me, sign up for it here:
      Please stay in touch, and let me know any questions you might have. XO

      • Catarina

        Thanks for your kinds words! I will check it out, sounds really useful. I know I signed up for something already, maybe that was it :). Have a lovely sunday!

  4. Gina

    Hi Francesca,
    I came back to this blog today because it’s been a day of moving from just thinking about 2015 to laying down real plans for 2015, and, well, I’m ready to get behind just f-ing doing it. Which means I’m ready to revive that conversation we had on Skype back at summer’s end, and move FORWARD! Thank you, thank you, for this…again!

    • Francesca Cervero

      Gina! Yes! Hi! I am so happy to hear from you. I love this. I’m always on board for making the hard, scary, RIGHT choice. Just let me know how I can support you. Sending love…

  5. Diane

    I love your blog, it’s real everyone situations! I too am facing fear to break the mold of my full time breadwinning job and take my yoga business to the next level. I have several private clients and am fearful for the day they all say, “I’ll schedule with you another month”. I need to keep the momentum moving and your blog is giving me more courage!
    Thank you!

    • Francesca Cervero

      Yay, you are so welcome Diane! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll know when it is time to make the right decision. XO

  6. Michelle Boutilier

    Hi Francesca! I love this entry! It really is a bright light and an encouraging message. It can be so easy to “stay stuck” in a situation that feels familiar yet there is that internal nudging that something isn’t great. I’m currently in a big crossroad professionally about either relocating with my husband to Vancouver or staying here in southern Ontario (Canada) and making some changes in the roster of clients I’m serving in my yoga to offer something deeper and more truthful to a smaller group of clients that want to grow in their yoga practice with me. I love your honesty and can’t wait to hear about Thailand. Please keep writing, it means a lot to me. xoxox Michelle

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Michelle! Thank you for your kind words! Telling my story in such a vulnerable way is challenging for me, but notes like this make it all worth it. It sounds like you are at a really exciting and scary place in your life. {Those are the best! Somehow I feel like I am always in that place… 😉 } I’ll be thinking of you and sending love. <3


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