As much as she tried and focused, my 7-year-old daughter, Stella couldn’t hit a softball off the pitching machine.
We practiced everything – hitting off the tee, coach pitch, hitting stick, visualization, tough love followed by positive reinforcement.
Even with some Tony Robbins-type exercises, we ended up with the same result every time.
Stella was scared. Afraid of striking out…again. Fearful of disappointing her teammates and worried she would let her coaches and family down.
But she never quit. Time after time when it was her turn to bat, she held her head up high, ran to the batter’s box and got in ready position for the pitch.
And on the 46th time, after more than 225 swings, she got a hit!
That split second, when I heard the ball hit the bat, is the proudest moment I’ve experienced as a parent. Of course, I was overjoyed she actually made contact, but more importantly and what will stay with her forever was that feeling of determination to fight through her fears and never give up.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
When’s the last time you’ve done the hardest thing in your life? Sometimes we think being brave means doing something monumental like climbing a mountain or switching careers, but often times courage is much more quiet and intimate. It’s not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s not anything we build up to, nor does it mean we can’t be afraid.
We come face to face with courage every day. It gets stronger with use and can be as simple as voicing our opinion when normally we would stay silent, daring to challenge the status quo or trusting our instinct when others don’t understand.
So much has been accomplished, yet there's so much to be done. The only way to continue to break down barriers and shatter ceilings is to push through that little voice in our heads saying "I can’t, "I’m scared” or “I might mess up.”
Nobody is stopping you but you.
So go. Take a deep breath, and dive into the deep end. Try something new. Fall down. Stand up. Try again. Speak up. Say what you’re thinking. Screw up. Get over it. Take a chance. Trust yourself.
The spirit in which we take on life will outlast the memory of any specific moment. And it’s in this attitude of courage and heart that will not only energize us to live our lives more fully, but it will also inspire our daughters and girls everywhere to give life everything they’ve got.
A Kansas State graduate with a B.S. in Business Administration; Marketing & International Business.