one step forward, two steps back

let go of the expectation that your path is going to be linear. 

as dream chasers, often, we crave a straight line that will take us from point A to point B. many times, it’s not because we want our path to be easy, but rather because we fall under the impression that chasing a dream is supposed to be linear.

we look at other people’s lives and craft stories in our heads about what their journey looks like, and, without fail, the stories we make-up are always more linear, easy, and exceptional than our own.

but, the truth is, every dream chaser who has ever created magic in the world has experienced a similar journey to your own. they’ve experienced valleys and mountains tops which forged grit and courage in them, hidden roads filled with new ideas that left them inspired, windy paths that left them uncertain, and taught them how to tap into their creativity. they’ve experienced the struggles and glory of pioneering something new.

the path to the future is never straight,

it wasn’t meant to be.

you see, if your journey as a dream chaser were one straight line— you’d miss out on experiencing all the experiences that equip you to make magic in the world.

if your journey were one straight line, you’d miss out on climbing mountains that build endurance in you, learning how to problem solve when things go wrong, and exercising empathy for fellow travelers. if the journey were one straight line, you’d miss out on picking up skills, talents, and knowledge that will help you up ahead. if the journey were one straight line, you’d miss out on hidden paths that reveal to you the wondrous world of available possibilities.

we are told that life is more about the journey than the final destination

and while it may sound cliché— it is true. because, the journey does something to us.

it makes us come alive.

it shapes us into who we are.

it teaches us truths about ourselves, others, and the world.

it shows us hidden gems and ignites passion in us.

you see, too often, we miss out on enjoying where we are in life and our journey because we’re too busy resenting it— thinking that our path should be a little different, a little straighter, and a little more paved. 

but, if you’re committing to the life of a dream chaser, then be ready to also commit to the unknown, crooked paths, changing paces, and adapting to the unexpected shift in direction that the journey will take you on.

the journey is not for the faint of heart. it is for anyone willing to commit to a life of adventure and dare to take the path that weaves them through uncertainty and windy trails.

the journey, while it is rugged— it’s the very thing that fuels the dream.

fear and doubt will trick you into thinking that your journey is more challenging and more crooked than others. anxiety will try to convince you to shrink back and give up— don’t. you are a champion who can overcome any plot twist. 

your journey is your own. yes, it’s got twists and turns, it’s unconventional, it’s full of highs and lows — but that’s the path of dream chasing. don’t let the twists, turns, and every-now-and-then uncertainty cause you to second guess yourself or your quest to make an impact. this is the path that every dreamer must take to make magic and bring new ideas into the world.

walk your path in confidence. hold your head up high.

remember: it’s okay if your journey isn’t linear, forming one perfectly straight and clean line. in fact, it’s more than okay. every twist, turn, and detour is giving you something and producing something in you that will help you reach your goals in a way that exceeds even your wildest imagination.

TUNE INTO THE EPISODE NO. 131 “one step forward, two steps back” now available on iTunes, spotify, stitcher, and the PEPTALKS™ app.

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episode transcription

Hello my friends, And welcome to episode number 131 of the daring romantics with lindsey eryn, and I’m lindsey eryn.

this morning, as I was getting ready for the day, I was just thinking about life — and, in all honesty, I was thinking about how sometimes much of life feels like taking one step forward and two steps backwards.

And I don’t think that I’m alone in this. I think that many of us feel this way. LIke, we can feel ourselves making good progress and moving forward — and then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it feels like somehow we’re experiencing some type of setback or roadblock that we weren’t planning for. that obstructs our path forward, and prohibits us from achieving our dreams and goals.

and so, in order to get around that roadblock and move forward — we have to take a couple of steps backwards, in order to find an open path that will then allow us to once again start making forward movement.

this process can be extremely frustrating, because, as humans, we want a straight line. we want a straight shot from where we are, to where we want to be. Not necessarily because we want it to be easy — but rather, we want something to make sense. we want the future to unfold in a way that we can comprehend with our human minds, that fits a linear timeline.

but life rarely follows that straight line that we want it to be. It’s full of twists and turns. it’s full of dead ends, and Forks in the roads and roundabouts.

as dreamers — I think one of the hardest things that we have to work on is letting go of our expectation that our path is going to be linear.

because the reality of the situation is that no matter what, no matter how well we plan for things, our path will never be linear. but, that’s not a bad thing. in fact — it’s actually a good thing!

if life were one straight line, we’d miss out on so much Adventure. we’d missed out on experiencing all of the moments and escapades that perfectly equip us to make magic in the world.

Like, think about life, look at your life.

pick a moment where you felt like you were going backwards. okay, knowing what you know now, can you say that you gained something from that season? chances are, you probably did!

okay, so — you know that I think in analogies, so here is a random, real life example. the other day I was trying to get out of the house and go to my workout class, and, as I was walking down the stairs, I realized that I forgot my sweat towel. and so, I went back upstairs and grabbed one from the cabinet. and then started making my way back downstairs. Okay well, halfway downstairs, I realized that I also forgot my heart rate monitor. so then I had to go back upstairs, into my room, and grab my heart rate monitor. for whatever reason that Day, I felt like I was backtracking. like, every single time I was trying to move forward and get out of the house — I kept on having to go back upstairs.

but my proverbial steps backwards weren’t purposeless. they were equipping me with something that I needed in order to have a good workout. sure, I could have kept on moving forward without them — I could have gone to my workout class without my sweat towel and without my heart rate monitor — but I was going to have a better and more effective workout if I went back and grabbed what I needed to get.

As silly as the situation was, I think that it’s actually a pretty good depiction of what dream chasing is like sometimes. we’re always trying to get to our destination, we’re always trying to move forward, but every now and then we encounter those Seasons where life takes us backwards. where life says, “uh-uh, you’re not moving forward right now. you have to take two steps backwards.”

and it doesn’t make sense to us. but — in the same way that every single time I went back upstairs I grabbed something, every single time life takes us backwards, life is taking us backwards so that we can grab something. whether it’s a skill, a talent, a piece of wisdom or information, or even a relationship — and sometimes it’s actually to better align us better with where we’re supposed to be.

I was actually talking about this with my friend Christa the other day, and talking about how — I’m so thankful that I went back to Tulsa, Oklahoma after I graduated college.

So, I graduated college in 2009, and just like any college graduate — I had big plans to get out of Tulsa and move to the east coast and start a nonprofit with a friend. I had gone to Boston and looked for apartments, I had picked out curtains, and was in the process of picking out dishware — and, last minute, I felt like I wasn’t supposed to go. for whatever reason, I felt like i felt like i was supposed to go back to Tulsa.

this decision really didn’t make sense, it wasn’t very logical. I had nothing waiting for me there, there were no Grand opportunities.

but, I felt in my spirit and in my intuition that that’s where I was supposed to be. and so, I decided to follow my intuition, and I moved back to Tulsa, and I started interning at a nonprofit there.

my first couple months back in Tulsa, were probably some of the most humbling and confusing months of my life. I am not going to lie or sugarcoat it in any way, shape, or form.

I was so confused as to why I was there, and why my intuition had led me there, because nothing made sense. I was the oldest intern in the internship program, i was the only college graduate, and all of the staff members who were over me, who were my direct “boss” were younger than me!

I felt completely out of place, and like I had taken to two Giant steps backwards, instead of moving forward. here I was, a college graduate, with all of my friends working in corporate jobs making really awesome salaries, and I was working for free at a nonprofit and working as a nanny on the side in order to pay my bills.

and, I can remember calling home and telling my dad, like, “Dad, I have no idea why I’m here — like, I feel like I took steps backwards, like, this doesn’t make sense.”

and my dad, being a total dad, said, “you don’t have to stay! Like, you can come home and reassess things if you want.” and, I remember being at the park at 91st and Riverside, and thinking to myself, “lindsey, what do you want?” and everything in me wanted to go back home and get out of Tulsa, and feel like I was advancing forward.

but I told my dad, “look, this doesn’t make sense — but I feel like I was led here, and I’m going to stick it out. even though it doesn’t make sense — I committed to this, and I’m going to stay in it until I understand why.”

and so — I did!

for the next three years, while all of my friends were climbing up the corporate ladder, I stayed in a season where it felt like I was taking two steps backwards.

what I couldn’t see at the time, was that going back to Tulsa and working at that nonprofit was so incredibly crucial to my journey.

what felt like a setback and taking steps backwards, was actually equipping me and preparing me for something that I couldn’t even see or imagine yet. it was going back to Tulsa and taking those “steps backwards” that I was actually able to learn the skills that have empowered me to do everything that I do today.

it’s where I learned graphic design and marketing. is where I learned how to create campaigns that make people feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. it’s where my character was shaped and where I was refined as a human. it’s where I picked up wisdom and knowledge that would become beneficial to me in the future. it’s where I encountered Divine moments that spoke to me about my future, and introduced me to relationships that would be an integral part of my journey.

ultimately, taking that step back realigned me with where I was supposed to be as well. it opened my eyes to see that my original plan was not actually the best plan. it’s just all that I knew. at that time — I thought that if you wanted to make an impact in the world, if you wanted to do good, then you had to do some type of nonprofit or Ministry. but what I realized by going back to Tulsa, was that there’s a world of possibilities available to me.

doing good and making impact in the world doesn’t look just one way. but I never would have seen that or experienced that, had I not taken those steps backwards.

while at the time I felt like those steps were a waste of time, I can see now that taking those steps backwards was actually drenched with purpose.

there was a reason for all of it — I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without taking that step backwards. I wouldn’t be recording this podcast, I wouldn’t have my design studio or peptalks, my app. I wouldn’t even have some of the friendships that I have. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am exactly where I need to be. but it took me being humble enough to embrace that step backwards, and to lean into it, rather than resenting it.

And I think that’s the thing — too often, I think we miss out on enjoying where we are in life and our journey because we’re too busy resenting it. we’re too busy thinking that our paths should be a little bit different, a little bit straighter, a little bit more paved — or we hold on to this idea of how we think life should have played out.

But — if you’re committing to the life of a Dream Chaser, then be ready to also commit to Winding Roads, to unexpected twists and turns, and to a few steps backwards.

because that’s part of the journey! That’s part of the adventure. if your Journey were one straight line, you’d be missing out on climbing mountains that build endurance in you. you’d miss out on learning how to problem-solve when things go wrong, and how to exercise empathy for fellow Travelers.

If the journey were one straight line, you’d miss out on the opportunity to pick up new skills and talents and knowledge that will help you up ahead. you’d missed out on the hidden paths that reveal to you a new world of possibilities. if your journey as a Dream Chaser were one straight line — you’d miss out on experiencing all of the moments that equip you to make magic in the world.

we’re told that life is more about the journey than the Final Destination — and, it sounds so cliche, but it’s true! because the journey does something to us. it makes us come alive. it shapes us into who we are and teaches us truth about ourselves and about others, and the world. it shows us hidden gems that ignite passion in us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — the Journey of dream chasing is not for the faint of heart. rather, it’s for anyone who is willing to commit to a life of adventure, and to take the path that leads them through uncertainty. the Journey of dream chasing, while it’s rugged and while sometimes it’s unexpected, and sometimes it takes us a few steps backwards in order to move forward — the journey is also the very thing that leads us to the dream.

so, more than anything, today I just want to encourage you — don’t be disheartened when it feels like you’ve taken one step forward and two steps back. there’s purpose in the stepback, even if you can’t see it right now.

there’s more happening than you can see in this moment. so when you experience a plot twist in your story, and you feel like you’re taking a couple of steps backwards, I want you to remember these three things.

number one — what you are tied to is more important than where you currently are. I think every now and then we need to ask ourselves the hard questions. and one of those questions is this — what are you anchoring yourself to in this season? what is keeping you steady? what voices are you listening to?

fear and doubt will always try to trick you into thinking that your journey is more challenging and more crooked than others. it’ll tell you that where you are is a waste of time and that you’re falling behind everybody else.

anxiety will try to convince you that you ought to shrink back and give up.

listen — do not anchor yourself to these voices. get in the habit of centering yourself on truth.

remember who you are. remember who you have been called to be and what you have been purposed to do.

you are a champion. you can overcome any plot twist that you encounter. what voices and identities and beliefs that you tie yourself to will have a direct impact on what happens next in your story. if you tie yourself to the wrong voices, then you’ll find yourself missing out on what you were meant to pick up and learn in this season. on the very things that are going to empower you to flourish in the next season!

So, i challenge you — even if you can’t understand what is happening in this season, anchor yourself to faith. Tie yourself hope. And let joy be your Guiding Light.

on the days where your emotions are getting the best of you, and, even on the good days, I challenge you to wake up in the morning and say affirmations.

Say, “I declare that I am being perfectly positioned by the Divine to experience every good and perfect thing. I’m thankful that I am right where I need to be. I declare that this season is drenched with purpose. I am being equipped and empowered and connected to the right people, places, and things, so that I might carry out my purpose with excellence.”

say positive things over yourself. say positive things over your future. anchor yourself to Faith, because faith is what will keep you steady and pull you through into the next season.

okay number two — don’t walk away. lean into the season.

looking back at my life, I think one of the most Monumental decisions I’ve ever made was deciding to stay in Tulsa. even when I couldn’t understand why I was there, I had an out. I had an invitation to walk away, and, regardless of the fact that I couldn’t understand why I was there and regardless of the fact that I felt like I was falling behind — I chose to stay. I told myself, “Lindsey, you commit to this. so stay here long enough to find out why.”

and I think that too often we miss out on the goodness that we were meant to experience — because we don’t stay where we are long, enough in order to find out why we are there. we leave the place that we’re positioned in — the job, the relationship, the City, the idea that we’re working on, whatever it May be — we leave when it feels uncomfortable.

and because of that — we never give ourselves the chance to discover the magic that’s there.

I think that sometimes we show up to different seasons in life and we expect to see the magic upon arrival. like, right away, right when we get into that season, we expect to understand how that season is going to play into our lives and dreams as a whole.

but magic is like a treasure — it’s not just out there in the open for anyone to take. often, in order to experience it and see it and understand it, you have to stick around and look for it and work for it.

so, when you feel like life has taken you two steps backwards, don’t just walk away and dismiss the season thinking that there is nothing there for you. if life brought you back here, if life brought You two steps backwards, there’s something here for you.

the Divine works in mysterious ways, in ways that we will never understand. the goodness of life has a bird’s-eye view on our life, understanding where we are now, where we will be tomorrow, and the day after that — and understands what we need each of those days in order to move forward.

So, move with that in mind — that the goodness of life, the Divine, is bringing you to places in order to equip you — not to delay you, not to hurt you, not to prohibit you from moving forward.

everything is with a purpose so that you can advance forward, even if it doesn’t look like it or feel like it — trust that that’s what’s happening. So lean in. look for the treasure. look for the magic.

experiencing our dreams and a life that takes our Breath Away requires faithfulness.

faithfulness to stay, faithfulness to lean in. and the reality is, while faithfulness is a Whimsical word, it’s not a very Whimsical action. it’s an action of grit and perseverance and determination.

faithfulness is staying when it’d be easier to leave. it’s working, when it’d feel nicer to sit back and do nothing. it’s pushing through when it’d be more convenient to just stand still.

I recently came across a study that was done by the University of Scranton, and this study said that 92% of people don’t achieve their dreams and goals. so, that means that only 8% are actually achieving what they set out to do.

so, what makes that 8% special? what makes them able to reach their dreams?

I’m convinced that it’s faithfulness, it’s perseverance. it’s leaning in and trusting, even if you can’t see a path forward yet. So, in the highs and lows — I challenge you to choose to lean in. don’t let the discouragement get the best of you. don’t let your feelings dictate your actions. if life took your two steps backwards, lean in. don’t walk away.

you’ll always find the path forward when you stay faithful. and when you lean in and explore — you’ll find the magic, the tools, the resources, the connections, and the ideas that you need in order to advance forward.

alright, last but not least, number 3 — take the time to prune.

the word prune is probably one of the most unattractive words, on so many levels.

for one, it’s just kind of a weird word to begin with. and then two, the action of pruning is quite painful!

but pruning is essential for growth. I mean, look at nature. if you have a rose bush, you prune the rose bush in order for it to grow. well, the same is with our lives. and when life takes us two steps backwards, it’s up to us to see it as an opportunity to cut out what no longer belongs, and develop our character, to prune ourselves. because the truth is, we can’t expect to walk into these new seasons and experience big wins, if we’re carrying old issues.

if we want to move forward and experience sustainable change in our lives and sustainable success — then we have to have the character to hold it.

I remember when I was living back in Tulsa, I was so frustrated with life like I told you — and I constantly felt in this limbo, where I was taking steps backwards instead of moving forward.

I had all these big dreams and I just felt so incredibly far away from them, and questioned if I was ever even going to experience them. in my mind — I was good to go, like, I had the dream, I had the passion, I had the willpower.

but one day when I was babysitting, I had an epiphany. Teagan, the four-year-old, was walking down the stairs, and, she was trying to carry a bunch of markers to the kitchen. And, as she was trudging down the stairs, the markers started to slip out of her hands. she was trying to carry way too many markers for her little hands to carry.

and so, I came to the stairs, and I grabbed the markers in one hand, and I took them to the kitchen table for her. And, in that moment, i felt so strongly that the Holy Spirit was telling me that if I were to receive my dream — and everything that I was asking for in that moment, that it would slip through my hands in the same way that the markers slipped through Teagan’s hands.

because in the same way that her hands were not big and strong enough to hold everything that she was carrying, my character wasn’t strong enough to carry my dreams.

before I could receive my dream, I had to develop my character. you see, I think often we think it’s just about developing the skillsets to get to our Dream. But that’s not enough. Our skills are not enough to sustain the dream. we have to have the character for it. because, without good character, then everything will fall through the cracks, and the dream will crumble.

as dreamers, we have to recognize that forward movement isn’t just attached to what we are doing, but who we are.

we can’t expect to enter these new seasons and experience new things, if we haven’t dealt with old issues. so, when you feel like life has taken you backwards — take the time to self-evaluate, to work on yourself. ask yourself the hard questions — what do I need to change? how can I be better? how can I improve? Take a look at your habits, at the words that are coming out of your mouth, out of your belief system. how is your integrity, your work ethic?

all of these factors play a role. so here in this place, take time to prune. cut out what no longer belongs. if you have habits or beliefs systems that are weighing you down — get rid of them! Take the time to do it now so that you can move forward, so that when you enter into the new season — it doesn’t feel like old seasons.

if we’re serious about making impact in the world and reaching dreams and achieving greatness, then we have to be humble enough to take the time to prune, and to develop our character, knowing that pruning always leads to growth.

alright, that’s it — that’s all three.

but as you journey, my hope is that — you walk your path with confidence. hold your head up high. your journey is your own. yes, sure, it has twists and turns. It’s unconventional. it’s full of highs and lows. but, that’s the path of dream chasing.

don’t let the twists and turns and the every now and then uncertainty cause you to second-guess yourself, or doubt the impact that you can make in this world. every dreamer who has ever achieved any type of greatness, has experienced a windy pass. A path that takes them one step forward and two steps backwards.

this is the path of the dreamer, this is a path to make magic.

so remember — it’s okay if your journey isn’t linear, forming one perfectly straight line. In fact, it’s more than okay — every twist and turn and detour is giving you something and producing something in you that will help you reach your goals in a way that exceeds even your wildest imagination.

so when life moves you two steps back, don’t be disheartened. instead, lean in. allow your curiosity to take over. and see what you can discover in this season that will equip you for the next season.

And as you do, make sure that you’re tied to Faith. anchor yourself in truth, being mindful of the voices that you listen to and the beliefs that you’re attaching yourself to. take time to center yourself and allow joy to guide you. And stay faithful in the process, knowing that there is purpose even here.

the goodness of life will never lead you somewhere just to pass the time. there is purpose in every place and in every season, even when it feels like you’re moving backwards.

but, it’s up to you to stay patient and perseverent, to see how it unfolds.

you’re going to make it. you’re going to make it to dreams come true.

faithfulness is always rewarded — so stay faithful, stay in it. keep the faith — because there’s magic in your bones.

hi friend, it’s Lindsey again! thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the daring Romantics. if you enjoyed this episode, do me a huge favor and leave it a rating and review, and pass it along to a friend who you think would also enjoy it.

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okay wait — one last thing, if you’re down to connect, I would love to chat with you and get to know you, so send me a DM @Lindseyeryn or @thedaringRomantics and let me know what your favorite takeaway was from this episode.

Okay, that’s it, for real this time — I can’t wait to connect with you, and I will talk to you next week.