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I’m Asking You Nicely. And, The Fear Busting Gene.

In the past, I’ve never been someone who likes change.  I’m happy to eat the same breakfast for months in a row, I lived within a 45 minute radius from where I grew up my whole life until two years ago, I tend to order the dishes I know I like at restaurants, and I usually stay in wrong relationships way too long.  I’ve been experimenting lately, as you know, with switching things up.  Living/working in Costa Rica, for over a month. We are now five days away from our departing flight and all kinds of crazy stuff is happening for me.  I’m getting stomachaches, I haven’t been sleeping well, and I’ve developed a cough.

For virtually five weeks, I’ve felt almost zero stress.  Although things have come up, nothing has spun me into a nauseous mess.  I’ve had space and time to just be, live my life healthily and happily.  And as I sit here in the morning, laundry blowing on the line, thinking of all the “stuff” awaiting for me at home (real and perceived), I get worried.  I get stressed.  It feels heavy and too much.  And I’m sad to leave.  Leave all the amazing things I’ve discovered about my life and myself here.

I know all of the clichés are true: “When one door closes, another one opens.” Or, “its not an ending, but yet the beginning of something else.”  On a cerebral level, I understand all of that.  Doesn’t change the fact I’m still going to miss waking up to the jungle sounds and the monkeys outside my window, looking out to a field of green trees.  I know the trick for me right now is to enjoy it all while I’m here and try to bring home with me as much of what was amazing about my experience here.

My eyes have been opened to a new way of life.  I’m changed.  And I’m happier.

So, I’ve come up with a list of things I want to bring home with me.
Things I want to remember.  Things I want to put into my carry-on bag.

Directly from my diary, it reads:

1)    Say YES to opportunities that show up
2)    More physical activity on a daily basis
3)    More stretching
4)    Less Internet
5)    More calmness
6)    More fun with friends
7)    More vulnerability
8)    More nature
9)    More pushups
10) More minimalism
11) Less distractions
12) More quality connections
13) More time and space
14) More reading
15) Less meat
16) More adventures
17) More Natalie
18) More music
19) More water (both drinking and swimming)
20) Less underwear
21) More dresses
22) More sunshine
23) Less cell phone
24) More videos and photos
25) More giggling
26) More creative business scheming
27) More writing
28) More Inspired Everything
29) Less hiding
31) More realness
32) More random dance parties
33) Less clothes
34) More vitamins
35) More early to bed early to rise
36) More fruits and veggies
37) Find the people that truly love me for who I am and hang out with them more
38) Keep saying YES, especially when it’s scary, or doesn’t make “sense”

I’m on the verge of some things that scare me.  And I’m afraid to go back home, and lose everything beautiful about my experience here.  But I realized last night that the magic about this experience lives in me.  Costa Rica was just the backdrop.  There will be many more backdrops and I get to carry this magic around with me always.

We always think that certain people are brave and certain people aren’t.  Like you see someone doing something amazing or risky or out of the box and we think “oh…he/she is so lucky that they’re not afraid to do x, y, z.”  And I think we have it wrong.  There’s no gene for fear busting.  Those “other” people don’t have some kind of insider knowledge that we don’t have that helps them go do said thing.  It’s more that they do the scary thing anyway whether or not they’re afraid.  The insider knowledge they do have is that they just HAVE to do it.  They feel called.  They can’t not.  I felt that way with Costa Rica.  I felt called.  It needed to happen.  And it has changed me in ways I never imagined it would.  I didn’t even think about it before I left.  Just bought the ticket and hopped on the plane.  Nothing that showed up was anything I actively sought after, but everything I needed to learn.

Whatever it is you’re scared to do right now, please just do it.  I’m asking you nicely. There’s something inside you, wanting to come out and play.  Let it.  There is never going to be a better time.

Here’s a video I made documenting part of my fear process with this trip and how unbelievably happy I am that I pushed through.

If you dig this post, share it with anyone you think it’ll touch.  And leave me a comment and let me know which part resonated with you the most.  See you on my next adventure.

59 Responses to I’m Asking You Nicely. And, The Fear Busting Gene.

  1. Mandara says:

    You are an inspiration! Beautiful inside and out.

  2. Leela says:

    LOVE this. I just got back from 3 months in Portugal with a very, very similar list. Makes you wonder what it is about us as a culture that keeps us from living better. Less internet. less cell phone. More water. More meals. Fewer snacks.


    • Sallyhope says:

      Leela…Portugal eh?! How’d you like it there? And yes, I completely agree that it says something about us as a culture and I’m trying to think of ways to re-program my learning. How is it going for you, since you’ve been back?

  3. Greg Dennis says:

    Boy, did THIS ever come at the right time! I was talking with someone who is very close to me last night and she was talking about my anti-social tendencies. Specifically, if I’m in a large crowd of people, even if I know them all, I tend to be a coat rack. I’ll stand in the corner and play bodyguard.

    I’ve never been the “life of the party”. I don’t think of myself as shy, just not very outgoing. My friend isn’t the life of the party, but she considers herself a good hostess and likes to include everyone in activities she is in. No standing in the corner when she’s around. She doesn’t need to have a bodyguard. She was the one that is convincing me to get out more, and not focus exclusively on work, since I CAN be sheltered like that, pay attention only to work and do little else, and she’s been telling me that the attitude I had is holding me back. So, she’s working with me to change my way of thinking and get out into the world sometimes, and meet people outside of my work sometimes and not to stay in just because most people don’t understand my work.

    I don’t think it’s FEAR, per se, but I’ll freely admit to a comfort zone thing. So getting out of that comfort zone is definitely a challenge, but I’m egotistical enough to not let any challenge stop me. Just that a challenge of this sort is a LOT different than conquering a physical challenge that you can just work out more or a challenge where you can study more. So, yeah, a learning process for sure. How interesting you cover this when I was thinking of it. You readin’ my mind again, Sally?

    • Sallyhope says:

      Wow…thank you SO much for sharing that. And I absolutely agree that it’s a comfort zone thing. Same with fear. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, keep running towards it. It’s the only place growth and change can happen. I’m learning this all too. Amazing things happen when you do. And yes, I’m reading your mind. :-)

      • Greg Dennis says:

        Well, I guess we learn together, right? Funny that you continue to grow and change even in your 20s and 30s, and not just as a child growing into a teenager or a teenager growing into an adult. We’re always growing, adapting, changing, adjusting. Some of the things my friend has challenged me to change about myself are things I never would have even thought of. It always takes another person, someone who cares enough about you to call bull$h!t when you’re making excuses. That’s when you grow and change and being flexible enough to MAKE the changes is important, too.

        • Sallyhope says:

          Amen. Couldn’t agree more.

          • Kelly says:

            Hey Greg…you might want to check out the book The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron. It is a genetic trait, and like anything else it has benefits and drawbacks. A few things you said made me think you might be a fellow HSP! :) The book totally helped me to understand a lot about myself better…especially with comfort zone stuff and why some things affect me in certain ways. Like the crowds thing…or parties. Sometimes it is just too draining to be around that many people!

            Anyhoo…for what it is worth.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Your video was sooo adorable!! Congrats on pushing through your fear!

  5. Nancy says:

    Hey Sally,

    That is so rad I never thought I would see videos of you first thing in the morning with no makeup and no guitar in your hand. Funny how life evolves!! Gotta get together next time you are in town.
    Smooches, Nancy

    • Sallyhope says:

      HAHAHHA! I LOL’d at this Nancy. It’s SO true. I don’t think I ever would have done that before. Be that (what I perceived to be) vulnerable. Life is so cool. Always changing. Love you guys and miss you. Say hello to everyone for me.

  6. Lily says:

    I posted this link to my page, you have to read! It’s such a funny coincidence that I’m reading your blog and that link at the same time because they both deal with overcoming fears. And listing the things you want is so underrated!! Why don’t we all do it more often?!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Ahhhh synchronicity! My favorite. I love you bestie. When I get back, let’s do a list building seshy and we’ll talk to the Universe too. Yeah?

  7. Honorine says:

    Agreed. Amazing video. Made me think of what I can take away from Vanuatu. Giant number one, more forgiveness. More long lunches followed by naps. Less allowing others to dictate my emotional state. Thanks again Sally.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Thank you girl. And I absolutely love your mega learning list too. It gave me chills reading it. Isn’t it so amazing what we learn simply by taking ourselves out of our normal lives? I love the long lunches and naps especially. YESSSSSSSSSS. Can we do that next weekend on the camping trip?

  8. Sarita says:

    Nice! You are sooooo speaking to me =)

  9. Zoe says:

    Ahhhhh!!!! This makes me SO SO happy!!!! For you & everyone you inspire!! (& the song is awesome). I was a crazy world traveler for most of my life–for me the FEAR was about staying still, staying in one place, “settling down” and all that–Now I’ve done that, and watching your video I realize.. it’s time for BOTH. More to come.. Congratulations on overcoming your fear & getting the travel bug Sally– Welcome to team World! :) Hugs!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Miss Zoe…thank you girl!!!! And yes, we can have both, ALL. And thank you for the opportunity. If it wasn’t for you passing along the message, none of this would have happened and I’m unbelievably grateful to you (et family) for it. Love you girl! Can’t wait to connect in the EB.

  10. Tessa Zeng says:

    SALLY!!!! THIS IS SO REAL + INSPIRING! I love youuuuuuu.

    It’s so funny because this is coming at such an opportune time, too. I’m halfway through my Northwest adventure and starting to think about the next chapters of my life, and have been totally terrified/resistant to making a commitment to anything! Then this morning I stepped out of the shower and remembered that future self visualization you taught me the very 1st time we talked, and I sat down and did it. And now I think I have an inkling of what’s coming. SO EXCITED!

    Can’t wait to talk soon! Goooooood luck with the transition, stay beautiful!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Girl…omg, reading this gave me the chills. I have such a strong feeling that you know the next step, and I’m here to PUSH YOU OVER THE EDGE!! (Do it do it do it!)

      I want to phone chat and touch base when I get back. So curious what the future self visualization brought up this time around. You’re so amazing girl!

  11. Cheryl says:

    You know, I walked away from a marriage of 18 years for being unhappy for so long and after a battle with cancer and I thought I was so brave. But now I’m stuck in my life and I don’t know what I want or what to do with my life… There are even some days I question my decisions…I hate that because I am always looking back in my life…

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hi Cheryl…thank you so much for sharing. That feels like a very tender place and I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling a bit lost (it sounds) and stuck. I think it’s easy to question our decisions when we’re not really sure what our path is now, but know that you have the wisdom and power inside you to know what is right for you. PLease keep in touch and let me know if you need anything.

  12. jean says:

    Sally~I love the path you’re on….

    Really loved this:
    ‘But I realized last night that the magic about this experience lives in me. Costa Rica was just the backdrop. There will be many more backdrops and I get to carry this magic around with me always.’
    So true…we all carry this ‘magic’ inside of us!
    Wonderful post!

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Jean…I’m so glad you liked it! I went over to your site and read your latest post about visualizing yourself and I LOVED it. What a cool concept and cool exercise. And YES, I believe that we all carry magic inside, we just forget, or we let our thoughts take over (silly thoughts). Thanks for your eyeballs on my site. Keep in touch girl.

    • Sallyhope says:

      Jean…thank you so much. I’m not sure why “Sally~I love the path you’re on….” this hit me right in my heart, but it did. Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. And for saying that. I love this path too. And I feel so lucky to have such amazing support from people like YOU my dear!!

  13. Cherszy says:

    I’m glad to hear that you have become more adventurous now than you used to be. There are many points in our lives that we think we can’t do something, but the thing is, we are the only ones who THINK we can’t do it when in fact we might actually can. There’s no room for fear, only room for experience. :) Let’s not walk away from what life can bring us just because we’re afraid of not liking the next step or we’re afraid of failures. Only cowards truly fail because they are depriving themselves of what they can discover. Cheers to taking risks and enjoying that life of craziness! :)

    Go Sally! :)

  14. Kelly says:

    Sally…I laughed when I read “more pushups” and “less underwear” ahaha

    re: pushups…as in bras or popsicles? ;)

    • Sally Hope says:

      HAHAHHAHA! And more pushups meaning getting my arms really buff. But I’ll take the other two as well.

  15. Krista says:

    Wow!!! You are SO inspirational!!!!!!!! :) I am now going through a nasty breakup :S I was with him for 10 years, and put up with so much mental and verbal abuse, and because so used to him treating me that way :( I have recently started looking for inspiration like yours to help me stay strong and get through this. It’s really hard because you get so used to living a certain way, going into the unknow is definitely scarry! especially with two young children. But seeing people like you, gives me hope and inspires me to do so much better for myself :) Thank you so much for that! xo

    • Sallyhope says:

      Krista…thank you so much for sharing that. I can feel how hard this is for you, and you’re so courageous for going through it. Breakups, in my opinion, are one of the hardest things to go through in life. So many emotions involved, so scary, so many doubts, but I truly believe that each of us have the knowledge inside us about what is right for us, and it just takes some courage to actually change the situation. You’re so brave!!!

      And girl, as someone who fairly recently had a really tough/sad breakup, I can honestly say that the other side is AWESOME! :-) I NEVER would have done a trip like this before, I never would have done everything I’m doing now before. I’m so grateful.

      Definitely keep in touch girl. Let me know how everything is going.
      You got this,

  16. Fiona says:

    Don’t worry about coming home from Costa Rica and losing your mojo – once you cross the line you don’t ever really go back. 2009 my hubby and I had a rush of blood to the head and in seven weeks we sold up everything in Australia (house, car, motorbike etc) put everything in storage except the kid and dog and we jumped on a plane (with kid and dog) and then proceeded to spend a year driving across the US & Canada. When we reached the other side we kept going and ended up in Africa (still with kid and dog!!).

    I still have moments of abject fear, but then awesome sites like yours pop up in my life and I’m reminded about how cool life is once you tap into the magic. And I agree totally – it’s just something you have to do.

    Reminds me of that scene in Finding Nemo (you’ve seen Finding Nemo right…?) where they follow the turtles through all the turbulence into the slip stream (or whatever it is!). Riding the wave is a great place to be.

    • Sallyhope says:

      WOW!! Fiona!!! Thank you so much for writing and sharing. YOUR story inspires ME and I admire your ability to just keep on going. I think you’re right about the mojo too. No turning back now. YESSSSSSSSS!!
      And I also agree about tapping into the magic. It’s always there, but sometimes we forget to look at it, or tap into it (as you say). I really hope you keep in touch because I want to hear about all your adventures down through the slip stream and all the waves you will be riding.


  17. Cherszy says:

    I’m glad to hear that you have become more adventurous now than you used to be. There are many points in our lives that we think we can’t do something, but the thing is, we are the only ones who THINK we can’t do it when in fact we might actually can. There’s no room for fear, only room for experience. Let’s not walk away from what life can bring us just because we’re afraid of not liking the next step or we’re afraid of failures. Only cowards truly fail because they are depriving themselves of what they can discover. Cheers to taking risks and enjoying that life of craziness!

    Go Sally!

    • Sallyhope says:

      I absolutely LOVE this comment! Especially ” Let’s not walk away from what life can bring us just because we’re afraid of not liking the next step.” I couldn’t agree more. I used to be so afraid of not liking something, or being uncomfortable, that I wouldn’t take opportunities that showed up. But ever since I started saying yes, my life has become so much more interesting and exciting. Thank you for writing. Words to live by.

      • Cherszy says:

        Thank you for the love Sally! It means a lot when somebody likes (or loves) something I said. It makes me feel I make sense and I can reach out to someone else. Anyway, just continue saying ‘yes’ to opportunities. They don’t come by twice, so grab them while they’re within your reach. :) Continue having fun and helping others have fun too! :)

        • Sallyhope says:

          Yeah girl! You’re making crystal clear sense and I’m so glad you’ve reached out. This here community of amazing people (YOU included!) rocks my world!

  18. Jen Kem says:

    I love the line: “But I realized last night that the magic about this experience lives in me. Costa Rica was just the backdrop.” Now I’m dreaming about what my “Costa Rica” is going to be…my stage…my time to shine in my own stillness, breath and beingness. Coolest post yet, Miss Hope. :) When you coming to Hawaii?

    • Sallyhope says:

      Yes…YES YES!!! Jenny from the Block…what IS your Costa Rica?! What IS your version? I loved what you said here “my stage…my time to shine in my own stillness, breath and beingness.” So simple. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with. Will you do me a favor and really think about this. Take 30 minutes and just write whatever comes to your mind for 30 minutes straight without stopping. K?

  19. omg. i love you. and i love this post girl (happy birthday to me — exactly what I needed to read)!! you’re amazing and i’m so grateful to have you in my life and to watch in sheer EXCITEMENT as you get ready to ROCK the shit outta the next chapter of your life. can’t wait to see where the journey takes you girl! you’re such an inspiration to me. thank you!! xo

    • Sallyhope says:

      Girl…are you kidding me? I can’t wait to see what YOUR next chapter has in store. Big, exciting, amazing things that you haven’t even dreamt up yet! I’m so happy we’re in each other’s lives too. What a gift!

  20. Cecily says:

    Um, less clothes AND less underwear?! Hahaha.
    Thank you so much for sharing! Did you write this for me? :)
    I have been coming to terms with my fears and thinking a lot about facing them (based on your encouragement in going after things that are scary). After reading this, I was inspired to make a list of my fears and imagining what my life would’ve been like if I were living in a situation where all of my fears have come true… There are some that may be worth experiencing! (and some not… like bugs/pests)
    I still feel like I’m just THINKING about things though… can’t wait to take actions!!

    Thanks Sally and Welcome back!

    • Sallyhope says:

      HAHAHH! That’s hilarious! I didn’t really think about the fact that BOTH less clothes and less underwear were on there. I might have to be more specific with my list. And girl…GIRL! I’m so glad that you wrote out your fear list and worst case scenarios. What a fun exercise! I can’t wait to hear about them and help you take ACTION!!! YEEEEHAW! It’s on.

  21. hillary says:

    love your honesty, realness, raw power… the world needs more of Sally Hope. xo

    • Sallyhope says:

      Thank you so much girl. I don’t know why exactly but your comment hit my heart…hard. Thank you.

  22. Andreea says:

    Thanks for sharing and for your honesty! It’s so inspiring. I am taking some of the things on your to do list and adding them to mine :)

    • Sallyhope says:

      Thank YOU for writing and saying hello. I’m curious which list items you like… :-)
      Also…I checked our your site and it’s awesome!

  23. Sally I left a comment on your friends link but just in case I putting one here too…I am absolutely in love with that video. I’m watching it and saying to myself…” That is exactly what I go through every time I make a big decision” and between you and me a lot of small ones too. I too, am trying so hard to do so many things that I want to do even if they scare the crap out of me. Nothing quite as big as living in Costa Rica but still…I think I could’ve handled most of it except the flying bugs…uh uh…no way! Thanks for video. I’m gonna watch it every time I think “I can’t do THAT” (whatever “THAT” may be)

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey hey!! Isn’t it so funny that we all do this? We get excited and gung ho…then we’re like “I can’t do that.” And continue that cycle forever it seems. Even though I know this stuff and write about it, each time a new situation arises, I have to re-learn it! SO SILLY!! :-) I’m glad it helped and that you liked the videos. I can’t wait to hear about what you’re up to next.
      Family love.

  24. Greg Dennis says:

    Sally, you need to have more notifications when comments are posted! Also, replies to replies! I nearly missed Kelly’s comment, and if it wasn’t for you and I talking right now, I wouldn’t have thought to come and re-read this, and wow…after doing a crash course in HSP…wow…that sure screamed my name…

  25. Heather says:

    Absolutely LOVE this post. Real, raw, truth! My pal Natalie Sisson (The Suitcase Entrepreneur) and I are doing a vid series right now called Fearless Factor ( to engage in exactly THIS kind of conversation. Thank you for your vulnerable, humble, inspiring post. Much love from Vancouver!! Heather

    • Sallyhope says:

      Hey Heather…thank you so much! I LOVE your post too and LOVE the video on your latest. Especially the idea that “fear is feedback.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s so funny…we all learn to be so uncomfortable with fear (I know I am) and it’s cool to think that the emotion is simply a message that we’re doing something right. It sounds and feels so backwards, since most of us want to run as soon as we feel any kind of fear feeling, but if only we could remember that it’s a good thing, a positive message, I think it would make life easier. PLEASE keep me updated on your series. It sounds so cool!!!!!! Love right back atcha.

  26. Heather says:

    Hi Sally! I’m loving catching up with you and all your adventures…and this post was AWESOME! I love the list, especially #1 – saying YES is so important, and just blasting through the fear or reservations of doing whatever it is, and having the courage to just show up and give it all you’ve got. I always find that when I’m the most afraid of doing something for fear I’ll fail or it will be a disaster – it’s usually just the thing I needed at the time and it’s totally not scary at all when you just do it! Like starting reformer training in MN last month when I told myself I was not ready and a million other reasons I should wait to do it in CA next winter…well I did it anyway and now I’m teaching reformer, haha!
    You are so awesome and inspiring and I can’t wait to read about the next chapter… :)

    • Sallyhope says:

      HEATHER!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!! I miss you girl and it’s so great to hear from you. You’re ABSOLUTELY right about everything. Fear is usually an indicator that you should do something, and almost always when you do it, it changes your life for the better. (Note to self: “Remember this, always”). I’m so happy for you that you are now teaching reformer. GIRL! Right on!!!!!! I’m so excited to catch up with you. Please keep in touch.


  27. […] Fear, Comfort zones and Sally Hope […]

  28. Sally, this is inspirational and just what I needed to hear right now. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share. It is a good reminder that you can’t run from fear, you have to face it in order to grow! I went to Costa Rica last year after my divorce, it was my first solo trip and first international foray outside the US and Canada. I was only there a week but it was so good for my soul! Now I’m waiting for the next adventure! ;-)

    • Sally Hope says:

      Ahhh I’m so glad this resonated with you Sunshine. And oh my gosh your trip sounds incredible and brave. Just like you.

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