I’m naturally someone who is a bit risk-adverse. I prefer the known, the comfortable, and the safe (despite my love for hiking, the outdoors, and traveling!). We aren’t called to a life of safety, of staying hidden, or not trying.
This was something I faced time and time again, especially the past 14 months, as my job has changed and I am much more in front, making decisions (But what if people judge me? But what if I’m misunderstood? What if they don’t agree?). It takes courage to take risks.
At just the right time, I sat down on a very hot summer day in July to read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly (yes… I was a little behind, especially for being in the mental health field!). She starts her book off with a segment of Theodore Roosevelt’s speech entitled Citizenship in the Republic. The words below have echoed in my heart and soul for months, so I wanted to share it here
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Daring greatly. Seriously, I get emotional every time I read this quote. So many of us don’t even bother to walk into the arena because we are scared of the “but’s” and “what if’s” and risks that life has to hold. We forget that, at the very least, we can strive and fight and dare greatly.
Things might not always work out for us. Things may go poorly, people will judge us, we’ll make mistakes, things won’t go as planned. That’s our humanness, and we can’t get away from it. But we can show up to the arena, and we can fight. We can dare greatly.
The people in my office have gotten used to me saying “I’m showing up to the arena today”. I can’t control how everything will go once I step into the arena, but I can show up, be present, and dare greatly. I find great relief, great solace, and great permission in the idea of showing up to the arena. It’s scary to be sure, but it’s worth it.
So let me invite you, in little and big ways, to show up to the arena. Let me invite you into valiant striving, the risk, the vulnerability, the fight. Let me invite you to dare greatly in your life, your work, your relationships… with yourself.
I’m showing up to the arena. I hope you’ll join me there.