The excitement was high when we got to the roller-rink and received our skates. However, both of my boys were deathly afraid of standing up, let alone getting on the skate rink. But my kids taught me three lessons to overcome fear and self-doubt.
My youngest son grabbed the wall and slowly scooted himself along. My oldest grabbed my arm with an iron grip and held on for dear life.
Within half an hour they were skating around the rink without the help of anyone or anything. How was this possible? On the drive home I asked them what changed, and here are the three pieces of advice they gave their old man.
1. “Just let go of the wall”
My youngest son, who was slowly and carefully moving along the wall, finally decided to use only one hand to hold himself up. And behold, it worked!
My oldest son (the one with the iron grip) had to be challenged by me to only hold on using one hand.
As soon as they let go of the crutch, both of them made instantaneous progress. They balanced better and were more willing to take risks once they had that extra boost of confidence.
I’ve noticed that too often we are afraid to let go of the crutches in our lives.
We like to play it safe and stay close to the wall. It is dangerous if venture outside our comfort zone.
The truth is, it is only when we let go of the wall and move beyond what is comfortable that growth is possible.
Spend some time thinking about what walls you are holding on to and how you can let go.
2. “Trust people when they tell you that you can do something”
“Dad, as soon as I listened to you, I knew I could do it.”
How many times in life do we only listen to the naysayers?
Why give more weight to the people who bring negativity into our lives?
We are also our own worst critics.
Instead spend time listening to the people who build you up and believe in you.
Others are able to see our strengths because they have a more objective vantage point. They are more likely to see us struggling and offer encouragement. They know we can achieve more, if only we would let go and take a chance.
Trust the voices of people who can offer an outside perspective on your struggles.
3. Minor obstacles will arise. Choose to rise-up, not give-up.
As my oldest son was skating around the rink close to the wall, he came upon a group that had stopped between him and the exit to the drinking fountain.
He faced two options:
- wait for them to move, which could take a while,
- or go around and get some water.
Going around meant that he would have to venture away from the wall all on his own.
On the drive home, I asked him how he made his decision.
He responded by telling me, “When I saw those people in my way, I knew I had to go around them or give up. I was thirsty.”
Often we let small obstacles get in the way of our goals. However, those minor obstacles can be the catalyst for major progress.
It wasn’t until he faced a decision that my son was able to overcome his fear and reach his goal of learning to skate.
Make the choice to overcome the small obstacles and rise-up.
My two boys went from being afraid to taking action over the course of a few hours.
They overcame their fear and self-doubt by letting go of their crutch, trusting encouragement, and defeating minor setbacks.
I was a proud dad!