One crucial ingredient to successful transitioning is bravery. It takes a lot of courage to leave our comfort zone – our safe space – and transition into the unknown.  

The thought of consciously choosing to walk down a path that´s new, perhaps challenging and possibly very winding can be terrifying. With lots of twists, turns and opportunities to get lost, distracted or simply “bow out“ of our journey.

So, bravery is essential at any stage during our lives. And especially when we might be a bit more mature, older and have some life experience under our belts.

Some of us might hear a voice inside of us that – persistently and convincingly – makes us believe that we are “too old“ to explore and to dare to try something new. Too old to go on an adventurous and “bold“ odyssey.

Well, the bad news is: We can´t do anything about our age. We are the age we are.

But here comes the good news. Very good news in fact. Believing that we are “too old“ to transition is a mindset. And the one thing that we can always change is our mindset. Not easy. But possible by venturing forward.

Once we choose to be brave and to go down that unknown road, there will be a lot of surprising things that we will discover. Things that we will learn about ourselves while pushing our boundaries. Surprise will be a constant companion. And every single time it happens, it will feel as if it´s our birthday. All over again.

Let me tell you a story about myself.

I recently visited Japan. I was a bit nervous as I was about to visit Tokyo for the first time on my own. No Japanese friends there this time to support me in finding my way around this fascinating city with its vast number of inhabitants and its quick pace.

In addition to being on my own, it was going to be the first time that I would be speaking Japanese to “strangersin over 2 years. During this time I had only been speaking Japanese in safe environments. Communicating with my friends. Or making small talk in the classroom. And always knowing that we could switch to English or “Eihongo“ – that interesting mix of English and Japanese.

Upon my arrival at Narita Airport, I received my first surprise: I wasn´t nervous at all! On the contrary, I felt excited and very much looking forward to exploring Tokyo – all by myself!

And then I had my next revelation: I wasn´t scared to speak Japanese! My concerns had been in my head. In my mind.

All of a sudden I found myself at home in Japanese! Small talk came easily. And I caught myself consciously seeking out situations where I could enjoy short dialogues. Stopping passersby to ask for directions. Or just to find out where I actually was.

And the icing on the birthday cake: I was getting compliments on my Japanese.

I had transitioned effortlessly. My fears had taken flight. And a confidence was slowly but surely emerging.

Transitioning comes in many shapes and sizes. Just like this transition into a language and culture which has always attracted me. Now I had arrived in the next chapter on my journey.

So be brave. And see what surprises are in store for you. En route.

When was the last time you surprised yourself with a daring step?


photography: SeanPavonePhoto / fotolia