Not long ago my 6 year old, Kate told me how she needed to practice her ice skate moves because if she was going to be an “ice skate girl” she had to work really hard. That comment was followed up with, “but I’m still going to be on TV shows and a pageant girl or model.” I responded, wow, that is a lot” and without a reservation she said, “Man, I’m going to be BUSY if I am going to do all of that.”
I have reflected about this conversation because she never questioned her ability to accomplish these innocent goals. She knew it would take hard work, but she never thought it impossible. She totally believed that she could accomplish anything she wanted.
After I saw her determination and excitement about her goals, I recalled my own of almost 40 years ago. At four or five, my absolute favorite thing was to do “tricks” on the trampoline. I was not trained, had no extraordinary skills but I embodied one important characteristic necessary for this childhood activity…I had no fear.
Every day I went outside, walked up to the chair we had next to the steel frame of the trampoline, kicked off my shoes and climbed over the bright blue pads and jumped. The higher I went the more my imagination of future triumphs of my gymnastic talent filled my mind. If I just worked hard and practiced I would become a champion.
When I could showcase my hard work, I would take it. I loved when I saw my mom and she waved to me out the window. Her smile when I landed a particularly skilled filled my heart. She was proud of my diligence. My dad also loved my performances. He feigned surprise at my talent when I finished my “show”. I loved to make him proud. There was nothing in the world I liked better than to perform, the chance to show off my talents and my hard work.
You must have wondered why am I not recognized for my fame and fortune as a professional “trampoliner?”
I don’t recall the exact moment that it happened. I don’t remember when that first sense of doubt creeped inside my mind. But somewhere along the way, fear took hold and my dream of athletic grace and beauty slipped away.
I know the “tricks” were difficult and more complex. Maybe the reality of injury and pain filled my mind. I remember that as I matured, I doubted myself. I might get hurt or I what if I wasn’t any good? I never got hurt, but the FEAR of injury was all that was necessary to allow doubt to enter my mind. No longer did I have, “NO FEAR” in fact FEAR was exactly what prevailed and just like that, my short-lived “trampoline” career was over.
I wondered where things changed for me. When did the fearlessness that I accomplished anything disappear? What stopped my determination?
In the children’s story, Peter Pan, the author J.M. Barrie wrote, “The moment where you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever being able to do it.”
Our dreams, our goals only become reality when we know WE CAN accomplish anything. Hard work, sacrifice and determination must prevail over the internal fear of failure and rejection. WE must accept our own worth so we will be surrounded by those who also accept it.
We can overcome fear. We have the power to either fear our goals or work hard to complete them. The quickest way to obtain self-confidence is to do exactly what you think you can’t!
It took the determination of my little Kate to remind me, we can do anything we choose. I sat in Washington DC recently with the Leadership of the National Association of Hispanic Professionals (NAHREP) and witnessed their hard work for the protection of the housing industry as well as the consumers we represent. It was apparent how much can be accomplished in this short life with which we are blessed.
So I ask you, what would you do today if you had NO FEAR?