It’s said that when you’re speaking in front of a group, never to point out your own flaws, as that points the audience’s attention to only see that shortcoming. But truth be told, right now I’m terrified, my legs are shaking, my mouth is dry and my heart is racing. All I can hear is a boom-boom-boom in my ears. I’m taking a risk, I’m uncomfortable.
You probably know how I’m feeling right now. Maybe it was when you changed to a new school, at the end of a close game or even on your first day at camp. The things that make me uncomfortable, may be different than the things that make you, but I bet we have all felt this way. When you feel this way, you’ve probably left your comfort zone and ventured into a place where the future is unknown, somewhere where your prone to failure.
Often the first step to success, to enjoying something new is to take that first step, that leap of faith and place ourselves somewhere uncomfortable. But that leap isn’t easy, we second guess ourselves and often talk ourselves down to where its comfortable before our adventure has even begun. But that boom, boom, boom filling your chest and your head doesn’t need to be a sound that’s scary, a sound that signals your doing something you shouldn’t be; somewhere you shouldn’t be. Instead, let that boom, boom, boom be the sound of your own war drum, signaling the opportunity for something new, a door being blow wide to something amazing. Let those drum beats push you forward.
But just by taking that risk, our work isn’t done. It’s in our nature to just take a baby step out of our comfort zone, dip our toe in the water. But just by taking a step of our comfort zone, we haven’t assured our success, instead we have placed ourselves in the bullseye of failure and this is where the real work begins.
Unfortunately, simply taking that risk and stepping into the unknown isn’t enough, but is only the price of admission. Still an excellent start. Consider that a risk wouldn’t really be a risk without the potential for failure. And those failures will happen if you are tenacious enough to keep taking that first step. Sometimes when we take this leap of faith, we come out lucky, and everything goes swimmingly. But it also, more likely will take a couple attempts, a couple failures.
And to be frank, failure hurts it really stinks. I think often when people talk about the proverbial path to success, they mention failure being a stop on the path, but don’t really discuss about how hard that failure can be. How much it can hurt, how it can isolate you, make you feel ashamed for even trying. It can be an immensely lonely and crushing feeling.
SONG – Cats in the Cradle
So how do we deal with failure, how do we continue to push ourselves. Well, I believe one of the most important character traits that people posses is grit. Grit is a mix of both courage and resolve. You need to be brave enough to keep trying but have enough resolve to stay the course and keep at it. And you guys are really lucky, if you spend time at Timanous you can’t help but to develop this grit. And by the end of this summer, and the end of a long string summers here at Timanous you will find yourself with more grit than the average person.
But grit requires self-confidence, grit requires believing that you are enough and that you will get there. So, when you are faced with failure, remember that failure doesn’t have to be the final page in your book. You get to decide when to throw in the towel, and that power is an amazing one. It gives you exclusive ability to say when you’re done, that your happy with how your story goes. What an incredible thing, you can have grit, simply because you decide that you are enough and that you will keep going.
Don’t be ashamed of your failure, don’t just hide it away in darkest reaches of your mind and forget about it. Be honest about how it makes you feel, both with yourself and others. Put a name to both that feeling and the opportunity it has given you, the opportunity to improve. Don’t struggle alone and don’t let each other struggle alone. If you are struggling, accept help and if you’re lucky enough to be comfortable in something someone else is struggling with, offer help and encouragement. Remember how you may have felt on your road to where you are now.
SONG – Friend of the Devil
Leaving this chapel I have two charges for you. The first is time your faced with something new, a risk or something uncomfortable, take that leap of faith, let your own war drum lead you on an adventure, pay that price of admission to something amazing. It might not be easy, but if it is something that matters to you, once you start, don’t stop, keep improving, keep working hard and don’t get discouraged. Don’t throw in the towel until your doing it on your own terms. Your risk could take any forms, maybe it’s trying to make a new friend, attempting something new at camp, or retrying something you recently failed at. Even giving a chapel.
So on to my second charge, if you see someone in this situation, uncomfortable and trying, offer them help if you can, or just support them. If they have failed, cushion that failure, help them bear it, but also celebrate its necessity. If they have succeeded celebrate that with them as well, help them see their small successes. Either way, lift them up.
And I can tell you there is no better place to take a risk than at Timanous, it’s somewhere where these ideas are often second nature. We are both surrounded by people will lift us up and given ample opportunity to practice risk taking and grit.
SONG – Wooded Path
Look to this day. For it is life, the very life of life. In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence. The bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day. Such is the salutation of the dawn.
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