// Photo by Liuda (so appropriate that I happen to be wearing Gary’s 51 / 49 shirt).
// This post was musically fueled by LEGENDARY – WELSHLY ARMS, which I’ve dubbed the @GaryVee soundtrack (discovered from #DailyVee).
What if I went… all in? All in on me? On that thing in my heart that keeps pulling at me?
Most of my life I’ve tried to be very anti-self-centered. Very not me. Very you and listen to you and make sure I’m on good terms with you.
Which is cool: it’s great to focus on and help others. But priority one should not be you: it should be me. (And you, not me, should be priority one for you.)
But I don’t write that, or any of this, to tell YOU that; I write this to make a statement for MYSELF.
I had a realization after watching a short video snippet of @GaryVee on Facebook. A lot of his content is very motivational for me, but this one kind of hit a new spot. He didn’t share anything I haven’t heard him say before. But he talked a lot about listening to yourself, deserving your losses and wins, regret, and doing that thing you’re scared of.
While I was watching that video, I realize I’ve barely taken any risks in my life. I’ve barely had the option to even fail at anything. Which means: I haven’t been doing shit. Even with a few achievements and overcoming personal obstacles here and there, in the grand scheme of things I’ve barely pushed myself to the capability that I have.
I don’t want to berate myself for living so stagnantly, as that won’t help me. Yet, if I don’t do something with what I “know,” then it’s only going to get worse. More stagnancy, more regret, more missed opportunities, less … life.
So why am I so afraid? What do I have to lose? What’s the worst that could happen?
I could theoretically dive head fucking first into EVERYTHING I want to do, all the shit I’m scared of doing (but WANT TO DO) …
… Fall flat on my ass …
AND BE COMPLETELY FINE. Brush myself off, go to bed, wake up the next day and say…
“Well, that didn’t work. What’s next?” Shrug it off and move on.
SERIOUSLY? I’m putting things off for weeks… months… YEARS.
Because of what… a fear of what someone will say? Of “messing up”?
This WHOLE line of thinking stems largely from a lack of belief in myself. I’ve had shit self-esteem most of my life. Grade A people pleaser.
I’ve spent far too long recognizing things that I’m doing wrong or are no longer in alignment … and done nothing about for one reason or another.
But rather try to justify this and that… I want to move on, move forward with the key points from GaryVee’s content that punched me right in the heart today.
Go Insular: Ignore Anything Anyone Thinks About You
He talks about “going insular,” and essentially ignoring anything anyone thinks about him.
He’s never had a mentor because, “I don’t value anyone else’s opinion more than my own. … This is why that’s important: If I lose, I deserve it. If I win, I deserve it.“
For most of my life, and still to this day, I have relied on so many people for almost every part of my life that I’ve barely built the foundation for supporting myself, having faith in myself, believing that I can do what I set out to do…
… And believing that I will be FINE when I fuck up. I have been TERRIFIED of messing up – to the point that I would SOONER ask every person that I knew what they thought, trying to get that green light, the “go ahead,” the “yay go do it!” before I chose to do it or not to do.
Instead of asking myself: do I want to do this? OKAY, cool, we’re doing it.
THAT IS NOT THE WAY TO LIVE. It has to START and END with me, my heart, my intuition. There’s always room for input, for feedback, for suggestions, for advice, for guidance … but never ABOVE what I think of myself. Relying on what you think is a surefire way to be a slave to the whims of others’ opinions and beliefs, which are heavily jaded by their experiences, their upbringing, their own limitations.
Deal With Your Own Losses By Yourself
“Eliminate fear by not giving a fuck about anyone else’s opinion. My losses are mine. I’ll deal them myself.“
It’s incredibly important for me to step into everything I have been learning through EOL programs and communities, to step into my heart, and to follow the nudges and the intuitions. Even though I don’t yet necessarily see the end gain at the end of those intuitions, it feels like the best thing I can do for myself.
It’s important for me to do that, to go as far as I can in what I feel called to do, to embrace failure, to embrace the losses, and learn how to deal with them myself.
Pay Attention to Your Inner Voice
“Patience and inner voice makes you unbeatable. … I never did anything, anything, ever, ever, that I didn’t want to do. Because I just didn’t value someone else’s opinion over my own.“
Seeing the amount of self-confidence Gary has almost hurts with how much I wish I had it to that degree. Wanting it and pining over it, however, is not what gets me to “find” or “build” that kind of confidence. But it at least makes me aware of a value or attribute that is so important for what I want to experience and become.
I’ve had a lot of incredible insights by spending more time listening to myself; to the point that I actually get very frustrated with myself on the days that I don’t make listening to that inner voice a priority. I feel like I’ve “grown” more in the past 1-2 months than I have in almost the entire previous year.
I believe now that if I start listening to that inner voice and take action and move into whatever it “says,” that I’ll create a more fulfilling life, a more abundant lifestyle, and have a bigger positive impact on the world around me.
Regret. Is. Fucking. Poison.
“What’s way more scary than failure: REGRET. You just don’t know it yet. Regret is fucking poison. And you start feeling it when you can’t do anything about it.“
This is the core of this entire post. Regret. I’ve been sitting on my hands for most of my life, trying to avoid messing up. Not speaking up. Not stepping forward.
Not taking the LEAPS I feel called towards.
I’ve been afraid to say the wrong thing, to hurt someone. Afraid to mess up. Afraid to be laughed at.
… As a result, doing nothing because of it.
Yet, one critical consequence of that thinking is that I am paying for it with my life. Literally. I have spent weeks, months and years at a time avoiding my life. I can’t get those hours back.
So why the fuck am I doing that?
I am at least fortunate enough to be aware of it happening at the age that I am. I would be a damn fool if I don’t embrace that right now.
You Can Always Go Back (and Survive)
“You can always settle into the norm. You can always get the safe job. You can always go back. But you can never be back at this place where you can take high risks.”
This has been really helpful, in a way. Realizing that even if I mess up in some epic proportion, I can simply go get a job elsewhere. Doing the most menial and unfulfilling of things if I really must.
Something to help me get my foundation and start again.
So there’s really no reason not to wait. No reason not to take the risk.
If I fuck up: I can always go back (or to something else).
Go See How NOT Scary It Is
In another video, Gary Vaynerchuk says …
“Tomorrow… go and do something you’ve been wanting to do… that you’re desperately scared about what your parents, the world, the market, your social media followers will think… DO IT and then see how NOT SCARY the negativity actually is.” – “There’s just decisions, no right or wrong.” – “Do one thing that makes you uncomfortable. See the reaction from the audience and your inner family and your friends… And realize very quickly that it wasn’t as scary as you thought… that “feedback”.”
More than anything else in this post: this is the call to action. It’s always been there, but these videos have hit pretty hard. The only thing that matters now is whether or not I actually do something about it – or just talk about it.
Doing the Thing: Let’s Find Out How Scary It Isn’t
This, like all of my posts, are for me. And for whatever reason, putting it down on paper (pixel) helps to make it more permanent, more real, more … committal. A decree, if you will.
So in pursuit of scary things, or things that probably aren’t that scary once I start…
In pursuit of learning that I am stronger than I realize, that I CAN trust myself…
I am taking another step forward towards doing the thing:
Embracing West Coast Swing in the fullest possible way.
As a dancer, as an instructor, as a competitor, as a community leader.
If I don’t start saying and embracing THOSE FOUR qualities of my WCS pursuit… It just gives me an excuse not to go all in. If I don’t say it, then I don’t have to face it.
For years I have been trying to “find my thing.” My passion, my whatever. And here WCS is, waving its hand like a fucking maniac.
Nothing has touched my heart in the way that West Coast Swing and dance has.
Will this be a thing that consumes my life? No idea. Will I do more than just WCS? Probably.
AND LISTENING TO MYSELF FIRST, LAST, AND ALWAYS.
I commit to taking risks, to pushing myself out of my comfort zone, to doing things differently than what’s been done, to testing, to learning, to failing, to winning.
So my FOUR of WCS:
DANCE → I may not have a ton of dance proficiency compared to some of the other dancers out there, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. And I can only learn by jumping in and starting.
This means taking the time to practice on my own, when nobody’s watching, to researching and learning more about this dance.
TEACH → I may not be an experienced instructor yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. And I can only learn by jumping in and starting.
This means having the courage to actually teach when I’m not yet ready, when it’s imperfect and messy.
COMPETE → I may not be the “best dancer” out there with a ton of skill or confidence on the competitive floor, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. And I can only learn by jumping in and starting.
This means getting on the competitive floor as much as possible: Jack & Jills, ProAms, Strictlies, Showcases and whatever else. Anything that gets me into the spotlight and builds confidence – and references for realizing I can survive failure.
COMMUNITY LEAD → I may not have experience leading a community of dancers for WCS, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. And I can only learn by jumping in and starting.
This means stepping up to the plate to actually be a face for the community, to put my personality into it, to sharing my beliefs, and having the courage to try new things – and things that have never been done.
My “one thing” all seems to point towards the Fort Wayne Westies right now, and to pour all my heart into this project. Into creating a space for Westies to learn and thrive.
I take inspiration from a lot of different people and existing communities, but I also want to have the courage to try things that have never been done before, to see a future that doesn’t yet exist, to encourage others to step into the kind of dancer and person they want to become.
Since the beginning of this website, I’ve been trying to figure out “that thing.” It’s clear WCS is “that thing,” but I’ve decided that I will use austinpranger.com as a platform to share my experiences in ALL THINGS AUSTIN. West Coast Swing. Dance. Mindset. Heartset. Entrepreneurship. Travel. Whatthefuckever comes to mind.
This website has now just become a bucket of all my experiences and projects for personal and professional means.
I don’t want to EVER feel like I have to hide ANY part of who I am, any thing that I pursue, because I’m afraid “potential clients” or “potential friends” not liking me for something I pursue in a different area of my life.
I feel like there is more I could say about the thing, but I will stop here for now. Yes, WCS has been a thing for a while. But this is about stepping into it 100% and using it as a medium for incredible personal growth. It’s about stepping into the inner voice, the heart, the intuition… and following it to wherever it leads: West Coast Swing and all other things.
So, welcome to Day 1 (kind of but not really) of my “Westie Journey” (name of the thing to be determined, lol). Updates to come on this marvelously exciting, silly, interesting, and messy journey. I don’t know where it will go, but it’s about time I find out. Because I will be perfectly fine no matter what happens.
I showed you mine, now show me yours! ;)
GaryVee videos that inspired this mindset shift:
// Various photos from GaryVee’s PRESS KIT, Pinterest, and Google Images.