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

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

  • Aldo says:

    Barbara, I am sorry to hear of your situation. I will pray that God sends you whatever help to meet your need. Let’s pray:

    Heavenly Father, You know and have heard the cry of Barbara’s heart regarding the situation she finds herself in. Lord, I pray that You would provide whatever it is that will meet her need; whether it be wisdom, self-esteem, a better paying job, innovative thinking, etc. Lord, draw Barbara unto Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord, and bless her with the peace that passes understanding, in Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

    Barbara, maybe you can sell one of your cars as a means to get started.

  • Barbara says:

    I’m. Having such a hard negative life, I feel I’ll always be stuck and cannot get out for the life of me. I’m always broke the money I get goes for rent, and other bills so all month I have nothing. My cars both need inspection I don’t have the money to fix them so they will pass, I’m having a hard time living in my past. I have low self esteem, always negative etc. I havecalot more going on in my life, it just to over whelming I can’t seem to move I’m depressed, got anxiety never stops. If there is anything you could be at help I would so much appreciate it. I thank you for taking the time to read my reply. God bless

  • Aldo says:

    Sophie Tee and Ozohu Yusuf, thank you for your kind words and appreciation of the article. I agree with you.

    I am happy to hear that it has caused you to look more closely at what you believe to be something fearful, and are willing to take the step of overcoming such. Fear is one of the greatest weapons that the Devil uses against God’s people. But, the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

    If you are truly interested in sharing your testimonies, here are some points which will help you to do so. (1) Write your testimony down, and go over and over it until you have it pat. There is nothing more powerful than your personal testimony. (2) Do not talk down to people. Uplift and encourage them. (3) Start small, then go big. Begin with one on one situations. Then with groups of three or four; then on to larger ones like at school, church, or organizations. Before you know it you will be speaking in front of large crowds.

    May God bless you both as you endeavor to know Him and make Him known.

  • 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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