Do you remember what it was like to be a child? To feel fearless and invincible and feel like no dream was out of reach? I remember as a child, I was determined to be a singer, a firefighter, a hair dresser, and a doctor, all at the same time. And although in retrospect, those dreams done all at once seem a bit crazy, in those moments, you couldn’t tell me otherwise. I was going to have several different occupations and be amazing at each one. But then I grew up and society conditioned me to be afraid, to take only the calculated risks, the ones that make sense, the ones that aren’t daring or bold, because at the end of the day, all that mattered was paying bills and being a productive member of society. Big dreams slipped away and smaller dreams took hold. I spent most of my adult life being afraid and not taking any risks. Not taking risks led me to live a lot of my adult life in regret. I recently heard the message, “discipline weighs ounces but regret weighs tons.” And for me, regret truly weighed me down to the ground to the point of me struggling with my own sense of worth.
One of the biggest areas of regret in my life is my track career. As an athlete, I knew I was capable of so much more than I ever allowed myself to accomplish. I was doing everything I needed to do to accomplish my goals – I was hitting all of the times in practice, I was lifting heavy, eating right, going to rehab for my nagging injuries, watching film of prior races, envisioning fantastic races, sleeping enough, the list goes on and on. Despite all that I was doing right, the biggest thing I was doing wrong was not taking risks, and instead I took a more reserved approach. I held back at meets, for fear of not being good enough, for fear of letting others down, for just plain fear. Anxiety took over and I would talk down to myself prior to each race. Once I had a horrible race, I felt even worse about myself and my capabilities, and it became a vicious cycle of regret and self-destruction.
Around my senior year, I started to realize that my dreams of accomplishing all of my athletic goals were slipping away. So I began to work on changing my mindset and telling myself “I am not sure if I can do this, but I might as well try”. That was one small step in the right direction. I truly was not sure if I was capable, but me telling myself that I might as well try, was so much better than not trying at all. And as soon as my mindset changed, I ran some of the best races of my life. I took risks, not calculated risks, but true, leap of faith risks and I saw all of the potential that I had. But quickly, the progress I made was halted as an injury took place right before Nationals, and set me back to the same mindset that I had before, that I wasn’t good enough and I became fearful all over again and all sense of taking risks went out the window. I spent a few years after ending my track career, frustrated with myself and filled with regret.
That regret and lack of taking risks that I experienced fuels me today. It fuels me to want to do better for myself, to want to accomplish all of my goals. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, we get knocked down so that we can fight to stand back up and get stronger with every step we take forward. Although I never accomplished my goals athletically, and although that still sometimes dawns on my soul, that regret fires me up to stand tall and set strong, daring goals and take life-changing risks. I took a risk in creating this blog, and it has been one of the most fulfilling projects of my life. I took a risk in standing in front of multiple audiences and telling my story. I took a risk in putting myself in situations outside of my comfort zone for the sole purpose of my desire for self-growth. I took a risk and started on-line dating and forcing myself to talk to strangers. I took a risk and fell in love after being hurt.
Today, I challenge you to revert back to your child-like mind. What are your wildest, craziest dreams? What wakes you up in the morning and keeps you up at night? What can you not stop thinking about for your future? What brings you joy? What challenge do you want to overcome? What is it that you want to be?
Don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big or too crazy, as unfortunately society has conditioned us to think that way. Instead, be bold, be courageous, be positive, and take that risk. Whatever fear has been holding you back – throw it out the window. If you fail, you learn, and what you learn provides you with more tools to try again. All of the successful people and businesses started with just a dream, an idea, and a whole lot of hard work and passion. My coach used to tell us that we had to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Your dreams and your decisions to get to those dreams may make others uncomfortable with your choices, and it may make you uncomfortable while reaching those goals as you force yourself to think in different ways and make some sacrifices. But becoming comfortable with this new uncomfortable way of life will allow you to thrive and reach levels in your life you never thought possible.
Your dreams are not far out of reach, but they often take a leap of faith and a huge risk to accomplish. Taking risks are truly scary, but risks are worth taking, because without taking that risk, you will never know what you have been capable of all along. You will never know how much you can change the world, how successful you can be, how hard you can love, or how much you can handle, if you never take that risk.
Join me today. What risk can you take in this moment, to change your life forever and reach the dream your inner child wants for you?
Be Beautifully Simply You