Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eleanor Roosevelt wants to know: Have you scared yourself lately?

One of my favorite quotes is from that great woman Eleanor Roosevelt:

"Do one thing every day that scares you."

I often repeat her words to myself when I am feeling less than confident about something I have to do. For instance, I'm a shy person by nature and large social gatherings aren't always my cup of tea. I never think I'm good at small talk or carrying a conversation—certainly not as good as some of my friends and family. So, whenever I am faced with entering a large social gathering and feeling nervous, I tell myself, "Do one thing every day that scares you."

Why? Because one way of understanding fear is as a challenge, and by facing challenges we grow. Maybe we handle the challenge beautifully and learn that we have skills, strengths and gifts of which we were not aware. Or maybe we don't handle it so well and make mistakes, but if we take time to reflect on those mistakes, we can learn from them and do better the next time we are faced with the same or similar challenge.

Your Creative Kick in the Butt is to take Eleanor Roosevelt's advice and do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small like taking on a task you've been avoiding because you're not so confident about it, or embracing that presentation you have to do for work or school instead of resisting it. Or it could be something big, like changing your job or trying something brand new that you've been afraid to try. But it doesn't always have to be something big. Sometimes big growth comes in small risks.


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