I am a scaredy cat; I admit it. There, I have said it, the cat is out of the bag, pun intended. I am afraid of change and afraid of new things and afraid to put myself “out there,” but I have recently found wisdom on bravery in some unexpected sources.
First, out of the mouth of a babe. I love watching my 9 year old play soccer. He is fearless. His team can be losing by double digits at halftime and he still gives the game his 100% because he is full of confidence that they can comeback, somehow. Like Alice, he has believed “as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.” I am inspired by this undaunted confidence.
I am often inspired by athletes. I came across an article in my husband’s Sports Illustrated recently that encouraged me. In 1964, before he was a star, Cassius Clay, better known as Mohammad Ali, wrote an article for Sports Illustrated called “Why I Roared.” He explained the difference in “them” and himself: “You’ve never heard of them. I’m not saying they are not good boxers. Most of them can fight almost as good as I can. I’m just saying you never heard of them. And the reason for that is because they cannot throw the jive. Cassius Clay is a boxer who can throw the jive better than anybody you will probably ever meet. I don’t think it’s bragging to say I’m something a little special.”
Wow! Talk about confidence! He was putting himself “out there” before that was the thing to do. I am going to remind myself of this the next time I feel nervous making a Twitter post.
Another thing that gets in the way of bravery is fear of failure. What if I don’t win? What if I don’t get the job? What if I don’t like the job? What if this move is the wrong decision? What if people don’t like my writing or my art? Cassius Clay had an answer for this too, “If things go wrong in the fight, I’ll just wait a while. Summertime comes, flowers start blooming, little birds start flying and you wake up, get up and get out. You change with the times.”
So, apply for the job, play the game, write the book. Go down your rabbit hole bravely.