Some time ago, I came across a post by Charlie Kindel entitled Once I was Afraid. It’s a brief reflection on what he’s accomplished over the years – some big, others small, but all opportunities to rise to a challenge and meet it.
Like Charlie, I tend to see things I don’t yet understand as black boxes. The less I understand something – the more of a “black box” it is – the less enthusiastic I sometimes am to tackle it. Once I dig in and try something, I’m richer for the experience even when it doesn’t go perfectly.
Writing this list isn’t about bragging or saying I’m better than anyone, but about recognizing accomplishments. Personally, I have a tough time getting past the 1 thing I failed, even if I just did 10 things well. We each have gifts, we’re each capable of so much, but few of us take the time to appreciate that fact.
- Once I was afraid to learn water survival skills (skinny people sink like a rock). Then I did.
- Once I was afraid to ask a girl on a date. Then I did. And eventually I married an amazing woman.
- Once I was afraid to give a best-man speech for my brother (public speaking.. not my thing). Then I did.
- Once I was afraid to hold a baby. Now I’ve had four of my own, with a fifth on the way.
- Once I was afraid to attend a meetup (someone might realize how little I know). Then I started going.
- Once I was afraid to climb a ladder to clean the second-story gutters. Then I did.
- Once I was afraid to do body work on my car to repair rust. Then I did.
- Once I was afraid to get back into running races. Then I ran my first race in a decade.
- Once I was afraid to do plumbing work. Then I installed a new sink/cabinet in our bathroom.
- Once I was afraid to post on StackOverflow (what if I get called out). Then I did it, and found I enjoy helping.
- Once I was afraid to judge a live competition (what if I’m unqualified). Then I did it, and wow was I impressed.
- Once I was afraid to change jobs after nearly 8 years (what if I have nothing to offer?). Then I did it, learned a ton, and have enjoyed the challenges of the last year.
Our challenges are all different. What’s easy for me may be difficult for you, and things you don’t think twice about might seem nearly impossible to me.
What kinds of things were you afraid to do, then tried and found you could?
If you post your own list somewhere, share the link below. I’d love to read it!