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Wizard of Oz's Cowardly Lion...all he wanted was some courage yall!

Ok, let's be real Queens, I am not as courageous and bold as I portray or hope to be. Whenever I have to do something new or something changes in my life my first thoughts are:

"Oh Snaps!"



"I don't know if I can, should or want to do this"

"Do I have to?"


The struggle is, I put myself in situations where I need to be courageous and bold all the time. 9 times out of 10, I always seem to muster up enough gumption to go after what I want. But I always freak out first, 100% of the time. So how do I push past the fear?

It's hard to explain so I'll just share a story and break down my process.

Queen Maree's Jazzy Process for Feigning Courage

Shout out to my Aussie Crew!!!

Review the Who and Why

Last week, on Phorbe's Instagram page, I shared some of the hardships I faced when studying abroad. One of those struggles was obtaining my visa to study abroad in Italy. I was just finishing up my study abroad semester in Sydney, Australia when I got the news that I had been accepted and approved for an exchange at Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore in Milan.

This was great news except, I would later find out that in order to be approved for a exchange visa in Italy, you have to show proof that you have at least $1000 per month you will be studying in Italy in your bank account. At the moment, my Chase account balance was -$6.23.

I completely freaked out. I was supposed to be in Milan for four months. How was I going to come up with $4,000? In a foreign country none the less. My first thought was to give up. I mean, I was just coming to the end of an incredible semester in Sydney. Maybe I was being greedy in thinking I could do two semesters abroad. Getting to Sydney was a blessing in itself, maybe that was enough.

My second thought was to start a gofundme page asking my family and friends to donate cash for me to use to show the Italian government. This was very helpful, but after a few weeks, I still hadn't reached my goal.

Welp, it was time to go back to my first plan and just be happy I had my time in Aussieland. Then a crazy idea entered my mind. So crazy that just the thought of it exhausted me. I stayed in bed all day running over all the different possibilities of this idea in my head. I thought about ways to do it, different outcomes, and all the ways I could respond to those outcomes.

Sometime in the evening, my good friend, let's call her D, knocked on my dorm room door and invited me out with her and our group of friends for a night on the town. I accepted and a few night clubs and trips to the dance floor for Gangam Style breakdowns later, we found ourselves at a Maccas...the Australian name for McDonalds. We were reminiscing on our semester together and discussing each others plans for Spring. I told the group of my conundrum and they listened empathetically. My firends D and let's call the other J, reminded me of how much I talked about my excitement to study abroad in Italy after Australia. They playfully made fun of me for giving up on my dream so easily.

As I thought about it, they were right. Yes, I had a great semester in Australia, but Australia was only supposed to be the gateway to Italy. I had never been outside the United States before my trip down under. I strategically planned my year abroad so that I could get my feet wet in a similar foreign country before jumping into a country that looks, speaks, and acts completely different. Italy was the marathon, Australia was the 7 months of training to help prepare me to run the marathon. I also remembered that should my plans to go to Italy fall through, I had no housing set up for the Spring semester and would like fall back into being homeless as I had no idea how to even begin looking for a place to stay. My Why was solidified.

Come to think of it, I had so many struggles getting to Australia, too many for a blog post, and yet I overcame each one and there I was...eating a mighty kids meal in Darling Harbour with a group of americans, brits, and a german. That's the type of person I was, someone who overcomes struggles to get what she wants. I didn't know how I was going to get to Australia, in fact I told myself I wouldn't get my hopes up until I was actually boarding the plane. When that moment finally came I was so excited (and terrified because I hate flying and I was now trapped on a double decker metal cage for eighteen hours) I completely passed out on the plane. If anyone could make this happen it was me. This was who I was.

Choose your cards

So, I was doing this. I was going to do the unthinkable. I was going to email the president of my university and ask him to either provide me with a scholarship or point me in the direction of someone who would. Ooowooooohoo Just typing that sentence sends chills up my spine. How arrogant? The audacity? I may just pee my pants right here in this coffee shop while I type this. It was that crazy of an idea. Like Dr. Strange (Infinity War Spoiler Ahead), my overactive brain had already thought out 4 million outcomes to such an email and only one of them, I knew without a doubt, would bring success. I had to play the cards I've been dealt.

When you play a card game...let's say uno...the first thing you do is review your cards and put them in order depending on your playing strategy. When writing the email to my university president, I put my cards in order.

I was going to play the "Referred to Chapman by a good friend of yours" card first to warm him up to the idea of me emailing him out of the blue. I would Follow that with the "Multiple leadership positions across campus and an outstanding GPA" card to get him on my side. Then I will lay down the situation card in a way that garnered sympathy. I have a dream to study abroad in Italy, but I don't have the money. Finally I would play the "I grew up homeless and overcame that struggle, I know I can overcome this struggle too" card. This card turned sympathy to respect because I don't just wallow in my struggle. I showed that I was actually fighting to break through my struggles and thus, funding my study abroad would be an investment in my future, not just a handout. I would seal my email with a straight up ask, will you fund my semester abroad in Italy.

As we learned last week, God doesn't cause the struggles we go through, yet he uses them to improve our lives. You may get knocked down, but that doesn't mean give up. Take your failures and closed doors on as battle scars, learn from them, and use them to help you move closer to your goals. This is the philosophy that I live by. The reason, my upcoming book is intitled "When Life Serves you Lemons". In this situation, I used the cards that life had dealt me to reach my goals.

Yet, when the email had been written and rewritten and proofread a million times, I was still crippled by the fear of the unknown.

THE email!

Go the way of Nike and Just Do It!

This is the part of the process where I just have to psych myself up. I revisited my Who and Why again. I went over my cards and concluded they were in the proper order. I reminded myself of the best and worse case scenarios. Worst case- he could ignore my email all together. Best case- he can say yes and Woohoo I'm off to Milan. Just the hope of getting that best case scenario was enough for me to move my cursor over the send button.

"You can do this Jasmine"

"You can do send"

"What, you can do it just do it."

"Just do it!"

I covered my eyes with my left hand and pressed the left clicked with my mouse. I did it. It was in the universe's hands now. No matter what happened, at least I knew I did all I could.

The president responded that same day! He didn't fund my trip to Italy, but he gave me the name of the man on campus who could and did! A month and a half later, I de-boarded a plane in Milan, Italy and for the next five months, lived my best life. Check out the photographic proof below. I visited 17 different cities in Italy and even made a trip to London!

Queens, when we speak of that first B of Phorbe: Bold, we are speaking of the mindset of knowing who you are, why you were put on this planet, and walking confidently, in that knowledge, through your life's purpose. I push through the fear until I find that tiny spec of courage within me to do what I need to do because I know that my dreams and goals depend on it. We have to be willing to step outside of our comfort zone in order to do the impossible. That's why it's called the impossible in the first place, because no one was brave enough to try until now.

What have you deemed impossible for yourself lately? I've got these plans for the next year on how to roll out promo and marketing for my first book and I don't know where to start on half of it. It all seems impossible. Will it still get done? Hell yeah! I'm all in on my goals! Are you?

It's a beautiful day to conquer the world, so go forth and slay!

-Queen Maree



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