Have you ever caught yourself giving your kids advice that you don’t follow? Today my six year old was having trouble with something, and wanted to give up. Tears started to fall as she feared failure. I scooped her up in my lap and told her that I will always love her. I told her that it’s okay to make a mistake – that it’s okay to fail. And then I told her something that smacked me in the face. I told her that the only thing that would make me sad or disappointed, would be if she didn’t try.
I started to think about all the times I’ve rationalized away not trying….all the ways I’ve allowed fear to make my choices for me.
We allow our fear of failure, rejection, vulnerability, change, embarrassment, and commitment keep us from new experiences, relationships, opportunities, and growth.
We don’t let ourselves care about people for fear of getting hurt.
We don’t reach out to that mom at church or on the side of the soccer field for fear they won’t be interested in getting to know us.
We don’t try new things in case we aren’t good at them. And heaven forbid we look silly.
We don’t put our ideas out there in case they’re rejected…or disagreed with.
We don’t try to quit bad habits for fear we’ll slip back into old ways.
We’re afraid, and we’re stuck.
I’ve been thinking about it this way for a few months now. Picture with me that you’ve climbed up to high dive board. You’re up there – ready to take a risk and DO something! You put the effort in to make it to the top. And now – you have a choice. There are only two ways down:
- Slowly inch yourself backwards down the ladder in fear.
And let me tell you, I want to be someone who LEAPS.
The first time you take that jump off whatever diving board you’re facing – it’s going to be hard. You might get hurt. You might look silly. You probably won’t do it exactly right. BUT, the more times we leap, the easier it gets, and the less we fear trying again.
I’m tired of letting my fears make my choices for me. I don’t want to be a person who tells her kids that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes – and then live my life in such a way where I never have opportunity to fail. I don’t want to tell my daughter she only has to try, when I’m constantly backing down the diving board. I tell my kids that they will be loved unconditionally regardless of failures or successes but don’t believe the same to be true for myself. I’ve created two sets of rules. I’m encouraging my kids and friends to go BIG and jump off that high dive – whatever board they’re facing, and I’ve created the world’s smallest diving board for myself. If I’m only ever jumping inches – I’ll only ever grow by inches.
I want to leap. I want to try. Fear is not a good enough reason not to do something.
So talk to that mom. Submit your article. Have the courageous conversation. Confess. Take the lessons. Buy the kayak. Tell the person how you feel. Forgive. Dance where people can see you. Speak up. Invite someone over. Do whatever it is that you’ve been wanting to do – but have been too afraid to try. No more backing down that board. Let’s leap. We’re in this together.