Chances are, we have all had those moments in life when we have felt a little cowardly. Maybe a situation quickly escalated beyond our control and we felt like our only option was to retreat. To quit. To walk away.
I know I’ve done it.
Maybe the situation became something we never imagined it could be and one single action created a string of events that seemed to steam roll a path no one could predict. Before we can process what’s going on, the next event is right in front of you.
This has happened to me too.
It can only be experienced and the only way we can experience it is to purposefully do something that scares us.
For most of my life, I didn’t know how to be courageous or brave. I pretty much tried to never put myself in any situation that would make me have to be “more” than what I was at that moment. I was the safe, cautious girl. The one who never ruffled feathers, the one who never caused any trouble, the one who lived in her comfort zone as much as possible.
At times, without realizing it, I had to find courage. In fact, more than once I was in the spotlight for excelling in the classroom or because of an athletic endeavor of some sort. I just did what was requested of me. I choked on my fear every time I was uncomfortable and scared.
There are other moments in my life when I the situation never changed so I didn’t have to run away. We just kind of held onto the status quo and never strayed too much from it. It was pretty normal and I certainly didn’t give anyone more than I was willing to give.
That’s for sure.
If they requested more of me, then that’s when things shifted. More often than not, I bailed. I couldn’t get out the door fast enough and before they even knew what happened, all they could see was the dust I left behind. This happened more than once.
Yep, that was me.
A big chicken.
Any of you ever felt like “abandoning ship” before you even get to the dock? Where you just cut your losses and don’t even look back and what you just walked away from?
About six years ago, I wanted to know what would happen if I “stayed” instead “ran.” When my “fight” instinct would kick in and win over my feeling the need to flee. It was hard. Oh, it was so hard. Just about every day, I wanted it to just be over. To move on. To let go. To quit.
But that was the easy way out. Running away and never looking back.
I convinced myself to believe enough to stand my ground. I pushed everything that scared me to the back and held on. At some times, I thought for dear life. But I refused to be beaten by this fear one more time in my life. I refused to let it decide where I did or did not go. I refused to succumb to its power and instead, found a power deep within that I never knew existed.
And in that moment, a fighter was born. I had fought battles long before then, but not like this.
No, this was different.
And I knew it.
Never did I know how much that one single act of courage would change everything.
Quite simply, it was a game changer.
It changed me and my life in ways I still cannot describe, but it happened. It is the single biggest pivot I made that continues to be fed every day because of my acts of fearlessness push me forward. Now, I actually want to be a little afraid. I want to know how far I can push myself. I need that challenge.
I crave it in ways I never thought I would and it makes me “step up my game” every time I get a chance to see how far my “comfort zone” really is…because right now, I really don’t know.
In some ways, this daring of life seems to have become an adventure in itself as I say “yes” to more things than I ever had and actually pursue other difficult tasks on purpose. The hunger I get when I set a goal or want to achieve something stirs something bigger than any fear could ever be.
I know what you are thinking…you are thinking you can’t do this…that you aren’t as strong as I am…that you like it in your little “bubble.” Yet, there is something inside you that wants more…that wants to taste the adventure called life…that is a little jealous of someone who isn’t held back by the self-imposed chains you have shackled yourself with…that isn’t bound by the timid, meek actions you barely take, let alone notice.
I hope this pushes a few buttons for you. I hope you second guess every scaredy-cat decision you have ever made. I hope that when you fast forward a few years from now and start reevaluating your life that you are a little ticked off that you didn’t take a few more chances. I hope that you really take a hard look at who you are right now and have a sense of wonder of everything you can be.
I am not afraid to call you out. I am not afraid to start the conversation. I am not afraid to nudge you a little harder, even when you think you aren’t ready. I am not afraid to tell you to keep trying even when you want to quit.
Want to know why?
Because it will change everything about you. It will create this new version of you that is better than you have ever been and you will wonder how you ever lived any other way. It will manifest this inner force that has always existed, but never used. It will seek out opportunities to challenge this power and where fear once lived, courage now rules.
In a single moment, an act of courage becomes your game changer.