I'm not going to lie and tell you that I have all the answers to "success." There's no secret recipe -- no one specific path -- to how successful people got to where they are, but I do know one thing:
Successful people are never afraid to do things that scare them.
A few weeks ago, I went on a Caribbean cruise with Princess Cruises. We docked at Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands one morning, hopped onto a boat and after a short ride, ended up on a white sand bank in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. When I booked the tour to swim with stingrays, I was beyond excited. Scared? Not so much. The thought of being scared of snorkeling in crystal clear waters didn't cross my mind -- until I got there. I stepped off of a boat into waist-deep, crystal clear water onto soft white sand. Everything was going as planned.
There's everyone taking pictures with the giant animals -- some of them hugging them, scooping them up out of the water. Wee, so much fun.
And then there's me. Looking like this. Scared sh-tless.
At this point I'm seeing stingrays everywhere. Baby ones, big ones -- swarming and swimming around, underneath me, beside me. I didn't know whether to avoid them by lifting up my legs or just stay still while they swam past me. I had no idea what to do, and the original excitement had turned into a full-forced freak-out in the middle of this beautiful white sand bank in the Caribbean Sea.
But you know what?
As much as I hate the feeling I get when I'm scared -- the unsettling anxiety in the pit of your stomach -- it's absolutely necessary to be faced with situations that make you feel that way.
I realized that doing things that scare you is not only a part of the journey to success, it is essential to success.
Every so often the "what if's" get to me and I get completely overwhelmed by my decision to give up complacent security to follow my dreams. I traded in that security for the unknown, being scared sh-tless some days, feeling doubtful and sometimes a hint of regret when times get tough. Then I wake up the next morning and remember to be grateful for the opportunity to survive by doing what I love.
I'd rather be crying once a month as a side effect of the most courageous decision I've ever made than be crying every single day because I'm miserable and too scared to leave my comfort zone.
If you're not living a life where every once in a while you get scared sh-tless by what COULD happen, you'll never create meaningful, positive change for your future.
So yes, I was the only one out of the entire tour group completely freaking out at 1) how close the stingrays were, and 2) how big they were in person, but after being instructed to swim around slowly and normally (they've become accustomed to swimming around YOU), I put on my snorkel set and watched these amazing creatures wading around in that crystal clear water.
You should do things that scare you not because you're reckless, but because you'll end up realizing how much you're capable of.
"If you only care about money, you might as well settle for a boring job with a steady paycheck. The most successful people risked everything they had to get where they are. Money is an illusion -- it comes and goes. Your legacy is forever." -- Mark Zuckerberg
So remember: Great things never came from comfort zones. Take a risk and go after what it is that you want. That risk you haven't taken may be the only thing standing in the way of your success.
This article was originally posted on GreaseandGlamour.com.