With a significant birthday in the pipeline, I made a ‘mid-life crisis resolution’ to push myself outside my comfort zone as much as possible this year.
So far, I’ve opened an online shop (www.tictail.schoolgatestyle.com), spoken at two blogging conferences, volunteered in a charity shop in Belfast once a week and braved Barry’s Big Dipper in Portrush (just once). Now, not all of these things are scary in everyone’s book, but what I’ve noticed is that by conquering my personal fears I’ve become much more confident in my abilities.
Which led me to do something last month that topped everything else – a singing audition. I’ve never ever sung on my own in front of strangers before. I’ve sung in front of the kids but they have the charm of Simon Cowell and usually tell me to be quiet!
Shaking like a leaf, I stood on the ‘X’ on the ground, took a deep breath and sang my heart out. Lo and behold, I got the audition and a place in the Belfast Community Gospel Choir! In the words of my son – epic!
The point of sharing all this is that I’ve been finding my scary experiences so empowering. In most cases, they have resulted in something amazing – opportunities, friendships and situations that I’d never have come across had I listened to my terrified gut and played it safe. Even where the experience hasn’t resulted in a positive outcome, it’s still been a confidence builder.
It got me thinking - do we need to conquer our fears now and again in order to achieve our full potential? Indeed, do our kids need to be allowed to face a bit of fear now and again? I’m conscious of how much I wrap my kids in cotton wool and say no to activities that are, in my opinion, too dangerous for them.
My sister in law was cycling with the kids recently when they passed a BMX trail. My nephew (5) asked to try it on his bike and my sister in law, knowing it was dangerous but seeing his eagerness, eventually agreed. He did well at first but near the end of the trail, fell. But he was so pleased with himself for having tried and incredibly proud of his fat lip. If my sister in law had said no to him, what would that have achieved? It wasn’t a life-threatening situation – and he cycled home that day with so much more confidence, and ironically, a bit more caution.
So, if you’re not already a daredevil like me (ha!), why not try something this week that scares you just a little bit? And bring the kids with you!
Disclaimer – I cannot accept responsibility for any injuries…be careful now!