As I walked to the photography studio, my stomach had butterflies and I felt a little nauseous. Why was I so anxious? I searched my mind for the cause of my anxiety. Everything had been going well so there was no reason for me to feel anxious. In fact, things were going better than well. I had just been asked by our New York headquarters to be one of 3 featured employees on the company website because of the contributions I had made to the internal corporate blog. My employer has over 20,000 employees all over the country and somehow I had been noticed and contacted. And it wasn’t a phone call to congratulate me, like I was a lucky winner and explain why they had picked me. It was an innocuous IM that popped up on my computer in the middle of the day stating that headquarters had seen my writing and wanted to quote me. And then yesterday someone from the marketing department called and said they wanted to get a professional headshot done for the feature. So, here I am walking to the photography studio and feeling like I am going into into surgery. My anxiety is through the roof, but why? This is a good thing, I am being recognized, and I am going to be featured and quoted for the whole company to see because of something that I wrote. Shouldn’t I be happy and gloating? I walked into the studio and was greeted by a cheerful blonde girl who asked me to wait in the front lounge which had the photographer’s work hung on every spare space of the walls. As I looked at the professional pictures of families, couples and business owners, I was surrounded by people smiling knowingly at me from the frames. They were all putting their best foot forward and the hope in their eyes made me smile back at their still faces. I couldn’t sit down, or look at my phone. I just stood in the middle of the room surrounded by the encouraging smiling faces and I knew this was the beginning of something. I felt it, but why was it making me scared? I am used to working hard and flying under the radar. I am comfortable keeping my dreams to myself with the attitude that ‘no one really cares’. Its safe. I am used to being in that place, so having a spotlight shined on me and being recognized, especially for my writing, is something that has never happened to me. It is great, yes, but it is also new territory that I am not sure how to navigate. In trying to calm myself, my mind went back to where this all started which was about 2 months ago. My local manager needed someone to contribute to the corporate blog as no one in our region had done it that month. She was walking around the office asking people but everyone was too busy. I was training someone and I said maybe I could do it later. She came over later and asked if I had done it. I said no, not yet. This went on for a bit as she kept walking by my desk waiting for me to do it. So, finally I went on the blog and added my contribution, it was the first time I had ever done it. But as soon as I hit the button to publish my writing it became a lightbulb moment. I like to write, I want people to read my writing, so why aren’t I contributing to the corporate blog? So from that point forward I started contributing at least once a week, with ideas, tips, and reviews of corporate training programs. Then within a few weeks New York headquarters noticed my contributions and wanted to feature me. Coincidence? I think not! It is the universe confirming that I am going in the right direction and the message is so crystal clear it is making me anxious. The message is breaking through all the limitations I have given myself to create a wall around me and keep me where I am. Safe. I have come up with all sorts of good reasons to hide behind my wall, such as I don’t want to offend anyone! What if my family reads my writing and rejects me? What if my company reads my writing and fires me? What if my daughter reads something that I wrote I thinks I am a bad mom? What if my writing just 100% fucking sucks and no one cares! These are all really good reasons to write in a journal and hide it for no one to read. And that is what I have been doing my whole life up until 8 months ago. It is really scary to NOT do that. Even though I am glad that I am getting recognized it brings up all my fears that I have held on to for so long. In breaking through my self-imposed limitations I feel anxious for the future because it is unknown. I have never gone down this path before and it is a wide open path with endless possibilities. So even though my stomach was in knots when the photographer called me in, I sat down in front of that camera with all the lights on me and smiled as best I could through my fear. The photographer asked what I like to do for fun, and my usual response to this would have been, ‘I like to work out, hike, spend time with my family’, but I instead a different response came out of me almost beyond my control, and I said to him, ‘I like to write and I have a weekly blog that is an enhanced diary about my life. I am a writer’ And with these words I looked hopefully into the camera. And with my heart beating, and my stomach in knots I smiled into the bright lights of my future.