Notable Quotable – Fear

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

                                    ~ Christopher Columbus

Fear. It holds us back from so much. It is so powerful that it can keep us from realizing dreams.

I love this quote because it serves to instill courage, courage to take that plunge into the unknown. For some, the unknown can be so outrageously scary; for others it is the excitement that drives them.

I think I fall into the latter category, at least most of the time. The unknown to me was always thrilling. I left home (Niagara Falls) to move to a new city (Washington, DC) to start my career. At that time the population there was 3.2 million people. I was fearless (read: young) there and I found getting lost in the city my way of exploring. I was never afraid of getting lost, even in the bad parts of town. Those were the years that I lived life on the edge.

But I soon tired of the big city and yearned for a slower pace. I had visited a good friend in San Antonio, Texas and found the friendly laid back attitudes so inviting that on my next vacation I set up 12 interviews (in the beer industry in San Antonio and both in the beer industry and the radio industry in Austin). I ended up getting a job offer at a radio station while on vacation and came back to DC, packed up my shit and three weeks later I was moving into a condo in Austin and starting a whole new chapter in my life.

That particular chapter lasted for three years when I grew weary of radio advertising sales and decided to open a bar. I didn’t know anything about running a bar…I had just spent a great deal of time drinking in them. I always dreamed of having a little neighborhood bar, similar to the ones that I grew up with back in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, so I took a vacation from the classic rock radio station and opened one. It was one of the scariest things I ever did, giving up a lucrative career in advertising sales and throwing caution to the wind to devote my life to an 1800 foot beer joint with two pool tables and a few dart boards. But I decided that if I was going to do it, I had to throw myself into it 100 percent. I came back from my vacation, went into my sales manager’s office and told him I was leaving to open a bar. (His response was awesome: he put out a memo to the whole station about me opening a bar and announced that my going-away party was going to be at my bar and for people to bring a lot of money to put in my cash register. How cool is that?!)

The unknown, although scary, was also thrilling. I learned a lot from those experiences and know that should the opportunity come again where I might lose sight of the shore, I’ll be able to dive right in.

Because the one thing I realized through all my ventures: God doesn’t bring you this far only to hang you out to dry…

May you always find the courage to lose sight of your shore.

sailing away

When was the last time you did something scary? Did the prospect of “losing sight of the shore” ever keep you from taking the journey? If so, do you regret it?


16 thoughts on “Notable Quotable – Fear

  1. Great topic and interesting anecdotes, dear Michele! Your sales manager was ubercool for handling your resignation the way he did. Mrs. Shady loves D.C. and we have family in Austin.

    My path was similar to yours in certain ways. In my early 30s, having worked in TV news at the same station for a dozen years, I made a list of target markets in the sunbelt states coast-to-coast, blitzed them with resumes and follow-up phone calls, and got a nibble from a station in Tampa Bay. I called-in sick one day at my PA station, took a secret plane flight to Tampa, interviewed, toured the area and flew back home. A couple of weeks later I entered negotiations and landed the Florida job. I left the region that had been my home since birth and moved nearly a thousand miles away to a place where there was not one familiar face. I was a bachelor, living alone, and it was scary, but the move led me to that MTV job. In the years that followed I had an opportunity to meet and work with hundreds of rock and pop music stars, actors, models and other entertainers. In many ways they were the greatest years of my life. None of it would have happened if I had remained complacent, rooted in the familiar surroundings of my hometown with a safety net of family and friends to catch me if I fell.

    Thank you. dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen to that Shady! None of that would’ve happened had you stayed put. I love how you took a secret flight: so cloak and dagger! I bet that was so fun and exciting. You have a great story to tell. I bet it would make a great book!
      Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your visits and your comments! XOXO


  2. Michele, I have had several off shore adventures. One was to jump into online teaching when it was a very new idea. I had little experience with the Internet at the time, but it was a way for me to leave my job and do something completely on my own with no boss to answer to. Now I am writing and self-publishing, and the biggest challenge is to promote myself. The fear behind book signings and promotions is huge for me. Now if you put me on a big boat, I still want to see the shore…an entirely different subject. Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kay. Isn’t it wonderful not to have a boss? But I know what you mean about the fears still facing you. There is definitely a lot of fears in self-employment. I’m glad to hear you made the jump and that it was a fabulous success!
      I’m sure you’ll do great at book signings. Self-promotion is always hard. But once you conquer the fear behind it, just imagine what will come next!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. Love your story.

    In our PC age I feel that Columbus has gotten a bad rap. Sure maybe everything he did wasn’t great–he was a man of his age–but it took a lot of guts for him to do what he did and I admire him for that.

    I wrote a piece of memoir some years ago about setting out to walk to California when I was 23 years old. Part of my closing was something like “Walking to California was not the most important thing–it was walking out the door of my parents’ house”. Things were safe and cozy there, but I was stagnating and had to do something. It was a matter of actually doing it.

    After that time I embarked on a life of change and trying new things. It’s been a pretty great life as a result. Stepping out of the comfort zone can be scary, but as your story shows things usually turn out okay in the end and there are plenty of people willing to encourage us onward. Adventure doesn’t start until we set sail and leave our safe harbor.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great line Lee: “Adventure doesn’t start until we set sail and leave our safe harbor.” Love that! Also loved your line about walking out the door of your parents’ house.
      It’s wonderful to know that that first step, walking out of your parents’ house, has lead to you a life of adventure and excitement. There is nothing worse than stagnation.
      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. It’s always nice to hear from you…


  4. I am a more cautious sort. I could never quit my job and start a business. I like security too much. I am one to want to explore the world and investigate all it has to offer and have sometimes bitten off more than i could chew but that is the wonderful part of a journey

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s nothing wrong with caution and safety. Security is a big thing and to feel safe is really important. Like you, I’d love to explore the world. If my situation were different, I think I would be a world traveler. I’d love to visit other countries and experience other cultures. Maybe in my next life…
      Thanks for stopping by Birgit!


  5. You are good for just jumping out and then see, what will happen. So great Michele 😀
    Last time I jumped were when I relocated from Denmark to Spain 3½ years ago. I had no idea about how life would change after that, which were good, I think. Otherwise I wouldn’t have had those experiences and I learned a lot by them.
    You had a cool sales manager back then, good for a new beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a big jump Irene, leaving Denmark and going to a whole new country with a new language! I can’t imagine doing that. That’s brave for sure! So glad to know that it worked out wonderfully for you.
      And yes, my sales manager, Jon, was such a cool guy, God rest his soul. He passed a few years back… I think of him often.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I wouldn’t say I’m totally unadventurous…. When I just turned 18 right after high school I left NY to go stay with an old friend in CA with him and his family! The idea was to get a job and relocate… By myself. Well I was only there for two weeks… And I didn’t get a job. I didn’t really try, since I was digging the CA vibe and just having fun exploring and going to the beach, Tihawanna Mexico, and the San Diego Zoo. Fun times…. I then went to stay with my brother in Upland CA. I did apply for jobs, but then a wisdom tooth became impacted and to make a long story short…. A series of events happened which made my life so miserable that 2 weeks later I was crying on the phone and my mother bought me a plane ticket. I was never so glad to hit NY dirt again… After all my harrowing episodes I was home! A couple months later I met my husband, we were married within 2 years and have been married for almost 34 years. So I feel I was brave enough to set sail and loose the shore… But somehow that was not ny plot in life…. My feet are and have been firmly rooted on the ground here in NY. We do take a yearly vacation and whether we drive, or fly, I am always happy to have my feet back in NY and always HAPPY to be in my home!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • See, all those experiences happened and led up to you meeting your husband and carving out your life. Things may have turned out totally different had you not made that step to move to CA. Even though it didn’t turn out the way you had originally planned, it was the first stop in your life journey.
      Very cool story Audrey. And I’m so happy to hear that you are happy. I miss NY so much sometimes and often wonder what life would be like now had I chosen to stay there… But then in the next moment, I’m grateful that I took the path that I did because if I hadn’t, all of these cool things that I have now wouldn’t be.
      Thanks so much for sharing your story! And thank God for Mom’s, huh?! 🙂


  7. Good for you Michele! I loved your story. What did you do after the bar?? Do you still own it?? I am one that lives on the ‘fearful’ side but I call it ‘not taking risks’. I am just not a risk taker!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Paula! Just before I sold the bar (and the main reason I sold it) I started an ad agency. I did media planning and buying and contracted out the creative and production. I did that for a number of years, took a break and did a year selling advertising for Time Warner then went back to the agency. It wasn’t long after that that I just got so burnt out that I said if I have to do another media plan I’d just die! So that was the end of my agency. Now I have my Dogsitting business and my jewelry business.
      There’s nothing wrong with not being a risk taker: a lot can be said for safety and security! I’ve wished for it many many times!

      Thanks for stopping by Paula. Have a great weekend!


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