Last week I had a dream.
I was in a lecture hall with a huge crowd of people. The venue was enormous, and packed full to the doors. The mood felt very excited, like this was a super big deal, although I can’t remember why now. I was in the front row with a bunch of people I seemed to know but who, as is the way of dreams, had no discernable faces.
For some unexpected reason, the speaker could not speak. The stage manager was in a quiet panic. One by one, he asked a handful of replacements if they might speak in his stead. And one by one, they each proclaimed some very good reason why they couldn’t possibly take on the responsibility.
He turned to me. “It has to be you,” he says urgently. “You have to do it… You’re our only hope.”
(OK… I don’t know if he actually said you’re our only hope, but go with me here. His struggle was real.)
It has to be you.
I woke up, snarkily thinking, “Of course it does, because I’m seasoned at taking responsibility for things that have nothing to do with me!” It’s a sorry M.O. I acquired as a child. A behavior I now recognize as a clever neuro-pathway designed specifically to protect me from feeling that things were broken and beyond my control.
I know there was a time in my early life where this helped me feel less helpless and afraid. But as I grew up, I began to feel that it made me a victim.
Why was I the one who had to say I’m sorry when she always starts the fights?
Why was I the one who got suspended when he’s the one who talked me into it?
Why was I the one who had to swallow my questions and act like I understood when I surely did not?
But, it also taught me something valuable – to stare FEAR in the face and find a way to SUCCEED, knees shaking, with whatever is handed to me.
In my dream, in the brief moment just before I boldly said YES to the speech, I also knew I could run away in fear and no one would’ve blamed me. It would be easy to do – everyone else had done it. THIS is the golden moment of OPPORTUNITY and CREATIVITY.
In that opening, how you decide to ACT matters. It determines the course of the next chapter. And if there are INFINITE moments like this in my LIFE, that means there is infinite POSSIBILITY to DESIGN my own life, chapter by chapter.
Why don’t we do this, though?
Fear of making mistakes,
Fear of looking bad or getting it wrong,
Fear of losing something or someone,
Fear of having too much to do,
Fear of failing
Fear of succeeding…
The list is as endless as the list of opportunities. So, which will you chose? FEAR or OPPORTUNITY?
Life constantly hands us opportunities to rise to a higher expectation. All we have to do is say YES.
Yes to the chance to FALL!
Because every fall is another opportunity to RISE.