I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself. How will you surprise yourself this week? (Author: Ashley Ambirge)
I’m sitting among my fellow soon-to-be graduates, listening to our mentors address the assembled crowd of several hundred. Our coach training mentors are animated and lovely, relaxed and real. I marvel at the fact that they could be talking one on one to me, across the table at a cafe. I wonder if the public speaking gene is real. I’m pretty sure it is, and equally sure I wasn’t born with it. Just the thought of speaking in front of a crowd makes me break out in a sweat.
And suddenly, I’m aware that the room has gone quiet. Was that MY name I heard? She repeats it, and I realize I am being called to the podium. I am to say something to this crowd of people, something wise and witty and profound for the coaches I have come to know and for their families. I have prepared nothing. I had no idea this was in the cards, and silently curse my miserable luck at having been named Amy in a class of graduates whose names begin with letters after A.
I consider my options and seeing no viable choice but to rise, I swallow the nausea and begin to walk toward the front of the ampitheater. I’m in shock, I think, because the people around me blend into one moving mass of color and shape and I can’t hear words, just sounds. As I take the microphone and look out across the sea of expectant faces, I think “No way”. Ain’t no way. I’m blank.
I happen to glance over at my eight year old son, who is beaming radiantly at me from his chair. He holds my gaze for a moment and I suddenly realize that yes, I can do this. For him. For me.
I miraculously come up with a few words, and then a few more. I make a joke, and people laugh. I come back into my body and into the room and into my heart. This is an important moment for me. I tap into the gratitude I feel for what has happened during my two-year program, and from that place I speak easily, comfortably, without effort.
As I return to my seat, I realize I am beaming like my son was. I’m amazed that I busted through and found my strength. I bask in the grace that clearly powered my performance. My surprise turns to a deeper appreciation for what I now know I’m able to do.
How will I surprise myself this week? How will I invite this appreciation for a return visit? I’ll look for opportunities to speak out in crowds. There will be several. I will welcome the chance to show my strength, and give it a chance to get out of the closet where it has been hanging out. I can do this. I know I can.
What about you? How will YOU surprise yourself this week?
This post was catalzyed by the Trust30 Challenge, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. The Challenge was inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings on self-reliance. Join me, and use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future.