Firstly, thank you for your lovely notes in response to my recent article about visiting Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Of course, my message was about far more than how to help those who live there escape from the poverty they are born into. It was about the importance of taking responsibility for our experience of life; of being ‘at cause’ in improving what is not working rather than living our lives as passive spectators, powerless to improve those aspects of our lives which weigh us down.
One of the biggest barriers people face when it comes to taking effective action – to address what is not working and to improve what is – is fear.
Fear that we just don’t have what it takes.
Fear of what others will say if we fall short.
Fear of missing out or being rejected.
Fear of being judged and found wanting.
Fear that we may lose something we value and regret ever having tried.
I know that feeling.
I’ve felt it countless times.
Yet here’s what I also know.
That left unchecked, our fear can keep us from ever setting out toward what we long for most – in our work, our relationships, in what we are making of our one and only precious lives.
I’ve seen it so many times. That when we don’t own our fears and let them own us, they can steer us – consciously and unconsciously – away from the things we most want in order to avoid the possibility that we will have to deal with the pang of rejection or disappointment or failure.
So my invitation to you this end of day is this… dare to do more than you think you can.
Dare to take 110% full ownership of the state of your life and to make the bold decision that you will not settle for less than the biggest life you are capable of living.
Dare to set your sights on something that inspires you, however scary.
Dare to have faith in yourself that you have everything it takes to create a life you love and to handle whatever challenges come your way as you pursue it (because they will come your way!).
Most of all, dare to see yourself as a person who is capable of making an incredibly meaningful mark on the world; particularly on the lives of those who spin in your orbit.
Will your daring guarantee that you will achieve what you set out toward?
Of course not.
But I can tell you this. It does guarantee that one distant day you will never have to look back and wonder: “What if I’d tried?”
I concluded my very first book Find Your Courage with a verse from a poem by Mother Teresa.
Give the world the best you’ve got and it may not be enough.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
Because when all is said and done, there is no greater measure of success than knowing you gave your best toward what mattered most.
And because this world needs for what you have to give. And it needs you to find your courage to risk falling short and failing and losing face.
After all, if not you, then who?
And if not now, then when?
“Life is a daring adventure or nothing,” said Amelia Earhart.
Today is the perfect day to begin creating a future that lights you up and, in doing so, inspires those around you.