I have learned that there are distinct benefits in doing things that scare me. I’m not talking about physical danger. I mean things that wipe out my sense of comfort and disrupt the status quo. Choosing to do things that scare me takes discernment. Is that legitimate fear I’m feeling, or is it the heavier feeling of drudgery or guilt, both feelings that should never motivate me to take action. Fear, for me, is a lighter feeling but it is a feeling that makes me want to run away or hide. Why do I feel oddly attracted to drudgery and guilt? Stop that, Tina. So when I feel like I want to run away, I can recognize that the activity I want to run from is probably a good one to tackle. If I stop and listen closely when I feel scared, I can always hear the quieter voice saying: take on this challenge; you are strong enough to risk it.
When I do overcome the fear that limits me, and I follow the lead of the quieter voice, on the other side I am stronger and more solid and more confident and ready to grow. Doing things that scare me makes me a better person for me, for my family, for my impact on the world. And it’s just fun. I hate to think how many of these opportunities I’ve passed up because of the distinct discomfort surrounding fear. It’s like being nine months pregnant and deciding not to have the baby because of the few hours of pain. Look at all that I would give up having on the other side of that very temporary pain and discomfort. I pray that I would always be brave enough to leap into the discomfort of fear and the unsteadiness outside of status quo.
Speaking of which, this week in addition to the memoir, I have been working on writing a Tall Tale for my Toastmasters club’s annual Tall Tale contest, which is being held this Wednesday morning (10/29). It’s a short talk – 3 to 5 minutes, which for me ends up being about 600-650 words. My original, thought-up-by-me tall tale is written and edited and recorded, now I just have to finish memorizing it. I don’t usually memorize my speeches, but the tall tale is completely different than most other speeches I give in Toastmasters. It’s a dramatic monologue more than a traditional speech.
I’ll be listening to the tall tale over and over again today to ingrain it in my memory; I’ll also be reciting it, using the printed out version at first but relying on that less and less as I get more of it memorized.
I’m looking forward to the contest, because it is so much fun to hear what other club members have come up with. And because it is a flying leap outside my comfort zone. Wish me luck!