We are getting closer to the start of a new year and at this time of year I always think about how I can challenge myself a little more with the gift of a new year in front of me. As a professional speaker, a subject that I address frequently is how many of us have a tendency to become complacent and are not usually inclined to “rock the boat”, try new things or take risks.
When we hit our stride in life, it feels wonderful and we tend to start coasting. Landing in the right career, the right relationship, the right situation, the right neighborhood, allows us to feel confident and fire on all cylinders. But the downside is we may start playing it (gasp) safe and avoid pushing ourselves – particularly as we grow older.
Most of the time we hold back because of fear. But if trying something new or pursuing another goal doesn’t scare you a little bit, where’s the fun in it? We all know the rush that comes from experiencing something totally different. Achieving a goal that we thought we’d never be able to reach builds our confidence and is exhilarating at the same time. And confidence pushes us to attempt even more exciting and unfamiliar things.
Pushing ourselves is a rewarding cycle that doesn’t have to stop if we don’t want it to, regardless of age. A great example of that are some people I know who are of a certain age and have run half or full marathons – putting in the required training and discipline even with no prior running experience. I admire their tenacity and determination to do something that is difficult and uncomfortable, along with the accompanying aches and pains that inevitably come with the process.
When you think about it, life would be pretty boring if we didn’t challenge ourselves. We can’t reach our full potential if we’re stagnant and keep repeating the same things over and over and never step out of our comfort zones. Even if we do try something new and fall flat on our face, that’s fine. We can be proud that we gave it a shot and give it another try or raise the bar and attempt something even harder. Failure is a wonderful teacher and can be extremely inspirational to those around us who see us get back up and have a go at it again.
So whether it be reinventing yourself in a new career, trying a new sport or hobby, learning a different language, giving a speech, or anything else you can conjure up – follow the famous Nike mantra: Just Do It! I can tell you from my own personal experience that the rewards are immeasurable. Life is short, don’t wait!