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But What if You Fly?

Posted: Aug 24 2017

Hi SparkFire Girls,

What’s unknown can be scary. Whether it’s trying out a sport for the first time, starting a new school or trying to make new friends, there is always something intimidating about beginning anew. In every new circumstance lies an opportunity and while it may be intimidating at first to dip your toes into new waters, I promise, it will be worth it in the end.

I am no stranger to this. My first major experience in taking a leap into the unknown came when I decided to move away to college. Never in my life had I lived away from home — I hadn’t even been to sleep-away camp! — and I happened to be one of only a handful of students from my high school to attend that particular college. I remember that first month so well: each day felt like a month and each week felt like a year. It was difficult to not only have to make new friends, but to also learn how to get by without seeing my family every day. I made many calls back home to my parents and kept my lifelong friends on speed dial, just for the comfort of knowing that they weren’t so far away.

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But soon enough, days stopping feeling like months and weeks stopped feeling like years; I joined a few clubs and in the process, I met like-minded people who eventually became my good friends. How did that happen? First, I was patient, probably not as patient as I should have been, but patient enough. I knew that I wasn’t going to find my best friends and feel at home in my dorm room right away; I knew it was going to take time and work for those things to happen. Second, I made an effort to make these things happen. I joined clubs, I talked to other students in my classes and made plans to get dinner with other girls on my floor. By doing these things, I was able to make a connection with people that eventually initiated friendships.

Erin Hanson What If You Fly quote Inspirational blog

While living away at college marks my first significant instance of confronting the unknown, starting my website TakeHerLead was surely the second. I loved to write and had toyed with the notion of starting a website, but I didn’t know who’d read it. I feared that all the time, energy and effort I’d spend creating and maintaining a website would go to waste if there wasn’t anyone on the other side to read it. Although living away at college required more tangible steps to tackling the unknown head on, this venture only demanded that I let go of my fears and just start. That I just start writing and creating. So I did.

Over two years later, and the risk was worth the reward; I’ve had the chance to speak with strong, incredible women — from chefs, to journalists, to SparkFire’s very own Founder & Chief FireStarter, Samantha Hodgkins — and share their stories. I’ve been able to share their advice and their hopes for young women while also sharing the stories of other famous women. And in the process, I’ve not only enjoyed every second of building THL, I’ve also gained the readership that I never dreamed was possible.

In all of the unknowns I’ve faced, I’ve always tried to not focus on the doubts or fears that swirled in my head. Instead, I’ve tried to remember who I was and let my light shine, no matter the circumstances. And whenever my fear of falling tried to get the best of me, I remember this saying: “There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask ‘What if I fall?,’ Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”

So, SparkFire girls, don’t be afraid to fall. Look forward to flying.

Be The Spark!

Nicole Funaro
Creator and Head Writer of TakeHerLead.com
SparkFire Ignitor Ambassador

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