In an attempt to get my s*it together recently, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about life, the universe and everything.
I have spent a small fortune on self-help books, and have googled topics such as, ‘how to be happy’; ‘who am I?’; ‘how to find your calling in life’, and ‘who did Negan kill?’ (my money’s on Michonne FYI).
While all of this has been super helpful, the most valuable lesson came from my four year old daughter.
It came about one ordinary day as I was getting my youngest daughter changed in her bedroom. The four year old started coming up to join us, and – rather than climbing the stairs in the usual manner – decided to impersonate a crab. She was doing this strange tilting, sideways walk, that was making me increasingly nervous. Just to let you know, I try not to be an anxious parent, but in my eleven years as a mother I have witnessed more than my fair share of children falling down stairs. Mostly it’s been my eldest tumbling head over heels, and landing with a thud at the bottom. For some reason he just can’t seem to get the hang of the order that his feet need to move in. So, anyway, back to child number three. She safely made it to the top, even with me hovering anxiously at the top distracting her from her crabby mission.
I must have told her to be careful about 2,987 times, and when she got to the top I breathed a sigh of relief.
‘You need to be careful’, I told her. ‘You could have fallen down the stairs’.
My worldly wise four year old looked at me with her enormous brown eyes, and innocently smiled. ‘But I didn’t, mummy’.
And there it was. A valuable life lesson. Apparently, my third-born child knows more about these things than her scaredy-cat mother. Of course, fear is a good thing, it keeps us sensible and stops the human race dying out. But what about when we let fear take over, turning us into underachieving bores? I know I am definitely guilty of letting fear get in the way.
I have so many goals, so many things I want to achieve before I die. Not crazy, ridiculous goals, but fully achievable goals. If I put my mind to it, I can totally do everything I have on my Big List of Dreams. So, what’s stopping you, moron?! I hear you cry.
Other than a lack of time (poor excuse), there’s only one thing standing in the way of me and heart-bursting fulfilment. Fear.
‘What if I fail?’
‘What if I’m not good enough?’
‘What if people laugh at me?’
Well, so what? What if I succeed? What if I’m brilliant? What if people are impressed?
Isn’t it worth the risk?
Are you letting fear stand in your way too? Maybe there’s something that you have longed to do, whether that be in your career, or in your personal life. Maybe you too hear that voice in your head warning you off?
I’m here to tell you to go for it.
Clearly, I’m not recommending that you do anything that would put your life at risk, or leave you bankrupt, or ruin your relationship. Think back to being a child, if it helps. Back to the days when anything seemed possible. As children, before the world gets its claws into us, we see no reason not to announce that we want to be a unicorn. My daughter wants to be a fairy (when she’s not being a crab that is). She’s not scared that she won’t be any good at it, or that she won’t have the shiniest wings out of all her fairy friends. She sees her future as a fairy, and who am I to tell her otherwise? She has no fear whatsoever.
So, what’s stopping you? Take that first step. Work towards becoming the person you thought you would grow up to be. You owe it to your four year old self.
Just remember this: It might not end in embarrassment or failure. It might end up being the best decision you ever made.
And if you’re reading this secure in the knowledge that you haven’t let fear stop you, and are properly grabbing life by the balls, then I salute you. Look out for me on the other side.
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