Don’t Limit Yourself. Take a Leap!

Written by Claire Colvin

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “But I would never do that?” I hear myself say that all the time. Sometimes it comes in the form of “I could never wear that” or “I wouldn’t know where to begin” or “I don’t think I could”. Those voices of self-doubt are very common. While it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one, I don’t want to live a life defined by “not”, “can’t”, “couldn’t” and “no”.  I want to be braver, but it’s hard to know where to begin.

The other day I got an opportunity to try. The Director of the Alumni Association asked if I would be willing to do a question and answer session with some of the freshman class at my alma mater. My immediate response was, “Do you know how I much I hate public speaking?” He surprised me by being genuinely disappointed.

“Really?” He asked. “But you’re so well-spoken and thoughtful and I think you’d really have something to say to them.”

Saying “yes”

If I’d been paying better attention I would have thanked him for the compliment; instead fear had me spinning out reasons why I simply could not accept. I mentioned that I was in the process of moving.  I told him about the kitchen reno that is underway, and the plans I was fairly sure I had. But I noticed something as I continued to ramble. I had an excuse, but I had not actually said no. I wanted to. I certainly meant to, but my lips just wouldn’t quite form the words.

He asked me to think about it and I promised that I would. I didn’t really intend to think about it for very long – just long enough to talk myself out of it really.  But I couldn’t shake the truth that I had an out and did not take it. I decided to take a closer look at that.

It’s true that I really do not like public speaking, but what would it look like if I said yes? It would be an informal gathering – a Q & A session, not a speech. It would be a small group of 20-30 students, not the whole incoming class. They would have questions that as a graduate I would be able to answer. They were just starting out at a school I deeply loved; why not take the chance to share in that experience?  I decided to say yes.

The day came, and I was nervous but not as nervous as I expected to be. The students came and I did have things to say and they listened. When I finished the questions I’d been asked to prepare for they asked questions for another 40 minutes.  The most surprising part of the whole experience was how much I genuinely enjoyed it. I took a leap, and it worked out just fine.

Choosing differently

There’s a quote from Seth Godin that asks, “Is this a reflex that’s part of my long-told story, or is this actually a good decision?”

It’s such a good question. My initial refusal – that was definitely “a reflex that’s part of my long-told story”. It was an “I don’t do that” reaction. But the reality is that I can do that, what’s more, I actually liked doing it.

Each of us has the power to change the story we tell about ourselves. There are a few limits, but not nearly as many as we think. There’s a very fine line between change and growth and you really can’t have the later without the former. Growth is a sign of life. Change, as much as I resist is not only good, it’s vital. I must change if I want to grow, and so must you.

Are there decisions that you are making right now that are reflexes rather than choices? This is a great time of year to try something new. Don’t limit yourself. Take a leap!

Ready to leap? Try one of these:

How do you define yourself?
Overcome low self-esteem


2 Responses to “Don’t Limit Yourself. Take a Leap!”

  • Sophie Tee says:

    Thank you for this encouraging story. I am also told I sound confident and would be a good speaker to share my story and give hope to others. I have done small amounts of this on the platform but mainly I have been willing to do this as a friend and sister in Christ or to non Christians as I am only a relatively new Christian. I have also shared my story of a life long eating disorder and mental health issues to a group of Christian doctors.
    My story is long but also segments have proven helpful to those that ask. However I have a dream, and many have suggested I get on with it, about writing a book or pamphlets about my story and healing or simply my journey and revelations within it. Also to be a spokesperson again in the same vain. BUT I have such a hang up that I will not be any good or that I will have a set back or something unfounded wrapped up in fear and panic. I do struggle in life and I do not go out to work. I have to work hard on my recovery and life with various, often debilitating, mental health issues. It is not easy but then I know that life isn’t always easy and it certainly wasn’t within the Bible. So why not me I ask? I feel I need support and guidance and to be shown…..and encouraged. But also to just take the plunge…..I suppose writing on here has actually helped with that and usually I would just stew and not write a word…..where do I take the next step I wonder….Please Lord show me where you want me to go….and how to go about it, In Jesus name I ask….Amen.

    Thank you and may God bless you and raise you up beyond your wildest expectations with His supernatural power that raised Jesus from the dead. Amen

  • Ozohu Yusuf says:

    Thois is a beautiful write-up and very encouraging. I fhave found myself in such similar situations in the past, where I think I can”t do something, and later do it exceedingly well. I think fear is our greatest enemy, by challenging ourselves and taking the”leap” we can actually do it. I will no longer limit myself

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