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Scared of Change? Me Too!

I’m freaking out, I need you to talk me off the ledge.”

This is what I wrote to a friend yesterday. My stomach was in knots and I was having trouble focusing. I knew what was happening but I couldn’t contain it alone. I am in the midst of change. And when I am my calmer self I can also see that I am in the process of growth. On some days the growth and change is exhilarating and magical. On other days it’s terrifying and makes me doubt myself.

For the past year I have been considering what changes I need, what my family needs, and what my business needs. The contemplation has not always been conscious. There have been rumblings in my mind and body and it took me many months to understand what they meant. My energy and focus started to shift and I started to think beyond where I was. I started to envision the life that I want. This isn’t to say that I am not satisfied or grateful for the life that I have. I am very grateful and yet I want more. I want more time, more freedom, more space to think and write and do. In the past few months I started to knit together a plan, a plan that was energizing.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a colleague asking me to consider hosting and training interns at my business. Incorporating interns into my practice is an idea that I had about three years ago. It’s an idea that I thought about and talked about but that was where it ended. And now I get an e-mail from a well-respected colleague at an established university asking me to consider hosting interns.

I’m freaking out, I need you to talk me off the ledge.”

I started my business because I saw a real need for Black folk to receive quality therapy from people who look like them. So often Black folk aren’t able to work with and more importantly learn from people who look like them. I didn’t have an African-American teacher until I went to college. In my career I never had a Black clinical supervisor. In my profession a clinical supervisor is the person who oversees your work as a therapist. They help you become a better therapist.

Just like Black students who are usually taught by White teachers, I longed for the experience of having a Black clinical supervisor. And as I grow my business this is something that I want to incorporate. I want to train Black clinicians to help them grow into exceptional therapists. Then my community will have more Black therapists to access. So why am I scared and doubtful and worried after getting this e-mail?

I am in the middle of transition, truly in the middle of it. Think about trapeze artists at the circus. They climb up an impossibly large ladder and start swinging many, many feet in the air. Once they have their barrings and their grip on the bars they look to see if the second bar, the one they will jump to is in the proper place. And then they jump. And for a period of time they are floating in air, not holding onto either bar, and having faith that they will catch the next one.

It is this moment in between the bars, the time of letting go of one and preparing to grab the next, that is both magical and terrifying for me. When I hold on to faith, that I am prepared, have the knowledge and skills, and more importantly have a safety net to catch me when I fall, then this is a magical moment. When I doubt and feel far away from faith that is when I feel terror.

Now that I’m in midair wondering if I should reach backward for the original bar or trust that I am ready for the coming bar I’m reminding myself of my safety net. I am remembering that there are people who will catch me, if I let them. And if I don’t let them catch me and I fall, I trust that there are people who will help me get back up, tend to my wounds, and climb the ladder again.

There’s a reason it’s called a leap of faith. And I’m in the middle of leaping.

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