That is too big for little ol’ me.”
Hate to break it to you… but if that’s what comes to mind, then you’re exactly the person who needs to take on a challenge. Your shrinking habit will get worse over time if you don’t push on those limits. Your fears will get louder. Yuck.
I’m not saying go quit your job tomorrow without a plan. I mean, find that stretching edge that has a gulp feeling. That’s where growth lives.
I’m telling myself this as much as you, because I’m at one of those moments in my business where I need to take a brave step and the “too big” voice is creeping in. So here’s encouragement and a free worksheet to help:
When I was 18, I was totally buying into staying safe and invisible. I didn’t know there was an alternative. I was being a good little wallflower, assuming being a good girl was enough to get somewhere. Nope.
One day I was at a gathering where this popular basketball jock was speaking about this wilderness trek he did for a week in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I whispered to my equally shy friend, Kelli, that I would never do something like that and she colluded in my small thinking… at first.
But then the speaker said, “If you’re sitting there thinking this challenge is not for you, you’re exactly who needs to go.”
Kelli and I turned to each other and said “Uh oh.”
I took a gulp. We both decided it was time to take a stand. We signed up. This was one case where doing what we were told actually served us well.
We trained all summer. Let’s just say, this is not what we normally did, being good TV-watching American kids. (Plus we were “good girls” in the Southern U.S., so being athletic wasn’t a visible option for us.)
In August, it was time to head out on the wilderness trek. We did it, despite the fear. We impressed some of the athletes on the trip! Not because we led the way, no. But because we showed so much stamina through the hard moments.
There were lots of tears, from the physical pain and the altitude sickness. But our hearts were singing. I mean, you just can’t feel bad when you’re surrounded by endless views beyond what we’d ever imagined. (I had rarely seen a hill before that.)
Mainly our hearts were happy because we were stretching and reaching something NEW. Something we hadn’t seen in ourselves before. It felt amazing! It was a spiritual awakening.
We Have To Do Something We’ve Never Done
That hiking trip was probably the biggest turning point of my life. Plenty of big stuff has happened before and since, but that was when I learned how to fully live and face whatever comes with courage. Along with a few tears when necessary.
I hadn’t fully understood this concept of challenging myself in order to grow, until that trip. Sometimes I have to remind myself to keep taking those challenges. The inertia of staying still is so compelling.
Later in life I heard this perfect way of describing it, from a very joyful woman who had completely turned her life around while living with a life-threatening illness:
If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
Now that I’ve written all that, it is helping me find the courage to go bigger. I can always ask for help just like I did for that challenge. My fear is not gone but courage is joining the choir.
Now it’s your turn to find your courage to step forward into new territory. This simple exercise will help. Download this free one-page exercise:
Remember life is an experiment. It’s about trying something new and learning from it.
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