Fuel Your Bravery

It takes a lot for a kid to say something that really surprises me, leaving me, however briefly, at a loss for words. Well, I recently experienced just such a humbling moment. I was in the middle of giving a workshop to a group of high school students. I was on a roll, really in the groove, when I asked, “What would you do if you had no emotions?” This is a question I often ask in my workshops. I use it to drive home the point of how much our emotions control our actions (if you’ve been reading my blogs, you are familiar with my perspective on this). So, I asked the question:

“What would you do if you have no emotions?”

Without hesitation, this girl looked at me and said, “Nothing. If I had no emotion, I’d have no motivation.”

Crap! I didn’t see that coming. The workshop had been going along so well, and the students had been responding in expected ways, and were really engaged and connecting with what I was teaching. I wasn’t prepared for that level of insight from a 15-year-old! I have adults I present to who have never made that connection.

She was right: if we had no emotion, we would have nothing driving us to go after the things that we want. We need our emotions to motivate and give us information to help us make our decisions. What I really had meant by asking that question was, “What would you do if you did not have any uncomfortable emotions?” It’s the uncomfortable emotions that sometimes keep us from trying things that might challenge us. Whether it be a new job, new relationship, or just stretching ourselves in a way that is unfamiliar.

We have somehow developed beliefs that if we feel emotional discomfort then we dare not do that thing that is causing the discomfort. Yet, the only time we ever make progress, feel confident and feel capable from any endeavor it is when that endeavor challenged us and caused discomfort. I must say, this comment caused me to pause, and even doubt myself for a moment. But it was my ability to work through those emotions, and proceed to clarify my point, that both I and those students were able to gain new knowledge and insight.

I’ve been having a lot of success with presenting my START Right workshops this year. This was a goal I had been working diligently on last year. And I am getting a lot of feedback from people about them. In spite of this success, I still feel great deal of uncomfortable emotions, self-doubt and fear as I stretch and grow in this area of my business. But what I am grateful for, is the knowledge that uncomfortable feelings are the price we must pay for stretching outside of our comfort zone so that we can do the things we want to do, that are meaningful to us.

Your emotions provide an important source of fuel to motivate you beyond the status quo. You don’t need to dare greatly, you just need to be brave long enough to see the other side of what is possible.

What have you done to step beyond your comfort zone this year?  I’d love to hear about it.