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I was traveling in Portland, Oregon a few years ago…

…when I got into an unexpectedly memorable conversation with my Uber driver. We were headed down the Banfield Freeway, and I was just grateful not to be the one driving. He looked to be in his 60’s, thin, wearing a red baseball jacket.

I don’t remember how we stumbled onto the subject, but he told me that “fear is a liar.”

He was talking about his story—how he wasn’t from Portland originally; how he was initially so hesitant to leave his comfort zone and move to new places even though he felt a strong pull to do so. That would mean seeking out new work, new friends, a new place to live. He had built up the change so much in his head: “How could I ever make it work?”

But then one day, he just got up and did it. Less thought to the big picture and more thought to the immediate task in front of him. And one step at a time, things fell into place. The fear he had in his head was just a lie.

His manageable-in-hindsight story stuck with me, because I do the same thing. I build things up in my head. I overcomplicate certain decisions. When really all I have to do is take the next step. It never feels like it at the time, but things find a way of working out. And wherever you go, there you are.

You already know what you want to do. You already know whether you want to take that job or change careers or move cities or go deeper into something. Some thought is just holding you back.

What if I’m making a mistake? What if my work/life balance is actually better where I am now; what if I miss where I was; what if I can’t handle it? “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” right? But how true is that, really? I’ve never found “what if’s” to be particularly helpful. You either try something, and find out, or don’t try, and never know.

Marla Tortorice