Why the Courage to TRY is the First Step to Success

In 2010, I was feeling a bit … unsettled.

I wasn’t exactly unhappy; I just felt like there had to be more to the way I was living my life. Just some whisperings and rumblings that were beginning to take root in my soul. What exactly were my dreams? How could I make them happen? Were they even possible?

I’ve always been drawn to the spiritual side of things, so this led me to asking myself some even bigger questions. Who am I? What is my life’s purpose? What gifts do I have to share? How can I better serve the world? What’s my mission, my calling?

Am I fulfilled? Or is there MORE?

I’ve never been content to just sit and wonder. I’m much more of a take-action kind of girl (even when that action is tinged with fear). So, I took a leap of faith that could help me answer some of my questions. I wrote a Lilly Grant through their Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program. This is a grant for educators seeking professional renewal … and really, who doesn’t deserve a grant like that?!

The grant proposal didn’t have to be related to education; it just had to be about something you felt called to do, something that would renew and reenergize you. So, this little midwestern gal decided to go for the gold—and for her heart’s desire. I wrote a proposal detailing how I wanted to learn the practice of meditation. And oh, happy day, I got the grant! I would travel to Sedona, Arizona, and spend 10 days learning about and practicing meditation.

Why meditation? Well, I have a pretty intense energy about me, and I’ve often struggled to find peace and serenity. (At the time I wrote the grant, I was running 30 miles a week … and that still wasn’t enough to calm my ass down!) So, meditation seemed like a good step in my personal development journey.

Back in 2010, I was still having flare-ups with panic. (Truthfully, I sometimes have them even now.) I had managed to get these attacks under much better control, but the idea of taking this big step toward something new was a bit daunting. Especially since I had NEVER TRAVELED BY MYSELF! My panic was bubbling. What if my nerves and anxieties boiled over when I was miles and miles away from home, from my safety nets?

But I wasn’t about to let my slight discomfort (OK … it was significantly more than “slight”) stop me from having what I knew could be a life-changing adventure. I’ve known and experienced deep and visceral fears in my life. And I also know how to walk through those fears—that’s why I knew this was something I had to do. So, I jumped into this new opportunity, and I’m forever grateful I did.

While I was in Sedona, I did all kinds of super-cool spiritual things. I had psychic readings, did karmic clearings—I even participated in a past-life regression session. I found myself enamored of the spiritual culture and the open-mindedness of the people there. Honestly, I kind of felt at home there. My wildly free-spirited side began to awaken!

It was hard doing this on my own, and I felt nervous about it, sure. But I kept going, kept pushing. Because I knew there was something inside of me changing for the better.

I started to dream big. Really big. I started to find out who I really was—not who everyone else wanted me to be. I found ME. I found my heart and soul. I found the courage to start making the changes in my life that would lead me to new personal and professional successes.

It’s important that we stretch ourselves, that we do things that make us uncomfortable. Going into the unknown and accepting new challenges require courage and vulnerability. But it is soooo worth it. Because it’s your chance to accomplish great things!

Not long ago, I gave a motivational speech to a group of my hometown peeps. And I was scared to death! I give presentations to big crowds all the time. But for some reason, standing up in front of this group of familiar faces had me questioning myself.

Would they judge me? Would they think I was wasting their time? Am I really called to do this kind of work?

But I did it anyway. I told myself I am meant to do this work, that I have something of value to contribute, and I got up in front of that crowd. And when it was over, I was overwhelmed at the number of people who reached out to me, sharing messages of thanks, of support, of love. It was an enriching, inspiring, important experience.

See, I stretched myself, and the rewards were once again bountiful!

We MUST do what is hard in order to grow. We MUST push ourselves into the unknown, even if we might fail. We MUST continue to believe that our personal victories are not always based on direct outcomes—but on whether we were willing to be courageous enough to TRY.

Question: What have you been afraid to try? What’s stopping you from taking the chance? And what would have to happen to make you take the next step? Share your story in the comments.