I was afraid.
Not just "kinda afraid" or a "little uncomfortable"--no, I mean really, uncomfortably scared.
I almost drowned as a child and spent five days trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina so as a result of those experiences, I developed a fear of water--especially being submerged or having my face wet--and thanks to my ordeal with Katrina--a fear of thunderstorms as well. So when I embarked on my latest adventure in my journey to #liveboldly--trying my hand at modeling--imagine my shock and surprise when the photographers at the weekend photo shoot wanted me to get in the water. But not just get in--go ALL in and UNDER!
So here I am, dressed in a bikini (which in and of itself was a battle overcome), surrounded by five photographers who were waiting expectantly for me to get in the water so they could get their next shot.
I had a decision to make:
- I could refuse and back out.
- I could straighten my shoulders, grit my teeth and take the plunge.
In a split second I made my decision. I chose option 2.
Don't get me wrong--that wasn't an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination. There was an internal battle waging between my head and my emotions somewhere down in the pit of my stomach where the forces clashed and jockeyed for position---but I had to determine if I was going to let my fears govern how far I could climb in life, or if I was going to make that determination for myself.
I realized that if I continued to stand down and back away each time I confronted a fear, that I would forever be at their mercy. There would be no way that I could rise above and beyond them to truly be the creator of my success. Instead, I would remain a victim of my circumstances.
After years of being defined and confined by my fears and limited by the choices that I made as a result, I was finally ready to make a decision (and honor it with action) by saying "no more" and taking the plunge--literally.
I would like to say that I entered the water boldly and confidently--after all, this was a big moment for me. But in reality, I entered cautiously--feeling my way forward gingerly one step at a time to be sure of my footing as I traveled further into the lake and the water rose higher up my body.
Just because you make a life-changing decision doesn't mean the fear goes away or you suddenly develop the strength of ten lions--plus two. Those thoughts and emotions are still with you. You just have to keep moving and keep acting in spite of what you think or how you feel.
So when I finally reached the point in the water where I had to duck under the water, I stalled. It was cold. I was freezing. I thought I saw "thingies" swimming by. There were a million reasons why I told myself it would be okay not to go any further. I'd overcome a lot just by coming this far. I didn't have anything else to prove. No one would know.
But if I backed down, I knew I would know. I wouldn't let me get past it--and the next time I faced a crossroads it would be easier to give in and go backwards.
So I took a deep breath and took the plunge. I went under the surface of the water and sat there for a moment, taking it all in and realizing that I was doing it. That thing that I was afraid of. I WAS DOING IT!
Then I V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y came up out of the water, turned to the cameras and gave a knowingly triumphant smile.
The photographers loved it, but more importantly, I loved myself for facing another fear and taking the plunge to #liveboldly instead of retreating.
What are you holding onto? What actions and dreams do you want to take but are letting fear, doubt and excuses prevent you from claiming what is yours? Release it. Become Ready to make your decision and honor those decisions with action. Take the plunge with me and #liveboldly.