The boys and I have had a secret little dream for years to open an indoor dodgeball arena. It’s humorous for many reasons, not the least of which, is that I was terrified of balls as a kid. I HATED dodgeball day in P.E. class. The only sports I ever played that involved a ball were tennis and basketball, if it involved a family game.
But clearly we don’t get to pick our kids interests. They both LOVE this crazy sport. So it’s no surprise that as soon as they got wind of a KLIFE dodgeball tourney at the school, they were instantly recruiting players. I kind of laughed it off as no big deal.
Until things got serious.
One minute in car line pick up, Noah was in my seat, and the next, he was hopping out. . . saying something about, “I forgot something.” Before I knew it, he was standing on the sidewalk talking to the principal. When I pulled up close enough to hear, he was asking to reserve the school gym and use their dodgeballs for “his team’s” dodgeball practice.
I could hardly believe my eyes.
Was he nervous? Yes.
Did he want it bad enough? Yes.
Did it work out? Not sure yet.
But here’s the deal.
The practice of stepping out in courage for something he believes in, will serve him so well the rest of his life. It builds up the inner cues that will remind him later, that he didn’t die or become humiliated. He simply asked for what he wanted and waited for the answer.
Our bodies are hardwired with healthy instincts for fear.
It’s meant to keep us safe from the real danger of things like wild animals and cliff jumping. But as Seth Godin shared this week, we’ve taught ourselves to fear the shame of failure. When we sense the urge to do something meaningful and important, to contribute to the world in a valuable way, or to step up to ask questions, it activates the exact same fear response that was designed to protect us from death. It’s easy to get the two confused.
And it’s killing us softly.
It keeps us confined within our safe boundaries, never venturing out to learn something new. It keeps us in comfortable jobs, just barely peeking over the fence at the possibility of what could be, but never actually working to build a gate. That same fear, keeps us in easy friendships based on proximity, not doing the hard work of creating community with people who fuel the fire within.
That kind of safety is like living hooked up to life support, when all the while you’re perfectly healthy enough to breathe on your own.
Pay attention to your fears.
If they’re only protecting your ego, they’re just extremely expensive and unnecessary life support.
It’s time to learn to breathe on your own.
to more love,