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Be Curious and Brave

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

You might have noticed that I have been cutting down on the blogging... I'm still writing, but I'm working on a BOOK. Here's a taste of that. And if you'd like to continue to stay in touch, I spend time on Instagram @lpinspire. See you there!

I don’t like that old saying, “curiosity killed the cat”. It’s stifles us. It tells us not to ask questions. It actually kills our curiosity. Questioning and learning is what makes us grow and thrive. I’m not just talking academic year. I’m talking about living your life and exploring what lights you up.

When I was little I loved to read fiction. Give 13-year-old LaRissa some Sweet Valley High or anything by Mary Higgins Clark and I was a happy girl. Fast forward to 40 something LaRissa. I teach in high school, I created and implemented a mentoring program for teen girls (shout out to the Lotus Project!) and I still love true crime. But what I was curious about when I was young is still what I’m curious about now. It just looks a little bit different. As I continue to grow, I continue to be more and more curious. And information is so much easier to come by then it was 20 years ago. Thank you Internet search bar! Sometimes it’s like going down a rabbit hole and getting lost like Alice in Wonderland.

The biggest issue I see isn’t our lack of access to what we are curious about, it’s our lack of bravery in stepping forward into the unknown. Sometimes we don’t feel worthy of the adventure or the dream because we’ve believed some lie that it isn’t for us. Or we believe the lie that because no one in our family has done it before it isn’t possible, or if it doesn’t happen quickly for us, it’s not ours to enjoy. These are the lies we tell ourselves. And let me fill you in here. No one knows everything. So the pressure is off. Stop applying all that pressure to yourself. If you don’t know something? Ask. Ask the Internet, ask someone you know, ask strangers you don’t know. But be brave enough to ask.

When I was young I was super curious about Paris, France. I read books about France, I learned about the people, the food, the culture, the history. I even took four years of French in school. I started building a mental map of Paris when I was eight years old. Curious might be an understatement. I was obsessed. If you ask my husband, I still am. It was always my dream to go to Paris and travel abroad to places I had only ever read about in books.

I was 39 the first time I traveled abroad. I had opportunities to travel abroad before that time, but never took the steps to do it. Unfortunately, there were many lies that I told myself that prevented me from living my dream for so long. Things like…

  • It’s too expensive and I’ll never have the money.

  • I should spend the money on other things of status, like cars and clothes.

  • In college, I told myself that I should spend my vacation time with my boyfriend who was serving our country. Sidenote: I did not marry this boy.

  • I’m not smart enough to get around a new city. Planes are scary and crash all the time. Foreign people are scary.

  • I’m too fat to blend in.

  • I might not blend in and they’ll know I’m an American tourist.

  • I might have a bad time.

  • I might get lost.

  • I might get pickpocketed.

  • I don’t speak French.

  • I have bills to pay and it’s not worth my money.

  • I’m not fancy enough.

  • My uncle will call me uppity and make fun of me for traveling.

  • People will wonder if I’ve gone into debt for this.

  • I shouldn’t leave my kids at home.

  • I don’t have a passport.

  • I have nothing to wear in Paris.

Can you believe that shit!? Here’s why that litany was bad news: it was fear-based. I had to change my mindset and my inner dialogue before I allowed myself to really make my dreams a goal. I had to research all the ways to make this happen in a way that worked for me and my family. I had to work for all of that. I had to say and believe:

  • I can save money by not buying the things that I didn’t need at the mall.

  • I could save money by setting it aside before spending it.

  • I could save money by working a side hustle to get more cash flow.

  • My dreams don’t have to be like someone else’s.

  • Millions of people fly every day. Statistics show us it’s safer than cars!

  • This trip will give me and my husband an adventure to bond over.

  • Paris will not disappoint.

  • I am worthy of this trip.

So, once we decided to go, we saved up for it. I had to research how much it would cost, where we could stay, options for what we would do, and what I should wear. I had to figure out who would watch the kids. And we even updated our will a few months prior. I asked a lot of questions… To Google, to Pinterest, and to people I knew that had traveled before. Being curious had never felt so good. Because curiosity was leading to adventure and catching my dream.

I had to take the same concepts and attitudes when I wanted to design my websites, create blogs, and publish the Lotus Project curriculum. I had no idea what I was doing. I had to stay curious, ask questions, and turn down the defeatist negative inner dialog. (Again! Thank you Internet search bar! Thank you people that went before me but let me pick their brains!) I needed to keep a positive mindset. And when I didn’t, I needed to remind myself that I was good enough to try. I was curious enough to follow tutorials, attend workshops, and learn how to do things on my own.

I think now being curious about life is what makes life so good. Sometimes it’s just knowing something new… Like a documentary about tiny creatures. Sometimes it turns into an action and an adventure… Where can I hike near the lake shore? Sometimes it turns into a job… I’m going to ask for a job application or I’m going to start my own online service.

And sometimes it takes you to Paris. And Paris does not disappoint.

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view of Paris from Sacre Coeur

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