“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Oh God of Second Chances Here I Am Again Begins With Courage
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write a book. But wanting to write a book—especially the type of vulnerable book written to connect with and inspire other women—has tugged at my heart for decades. However, wanting to write a book and actually doing it are two very different things!
But, I did it. With courage inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt. With the courage I watched the Cowardly Lion discover he always had. With the courage of the hundreds of women I’ve watched take to TedxWomen stages, sharing their often heart-wrenching and always inspiring stories. With the courage that lives in my heart—in all of our hearts.
Whether it’s through a book, on a stage, in the workplace, in our families, along a Yellow Brick Road or sometimes just looking in the damn mirror, it take courage to put ourselves out there, to be seen, to let go of the shame, blame, guilt, worries and fears that keep us playing small and dimming our light.
I began my book Oh God of Second Chances Here I Am Again with courage. In writing it. In publishing it. And, oh dear God, in releasing it and putting it—and me—out there.
I’d like to share how the book begins…
This book begins with courage. The courage to write it. The courage to tell my story. The courage to write boldly and bravely about being scared. Scared of uncertainty. Scared to be vulnerable. Scared of violence. I have been afraid of the unknown, of being judged, of being made a fool. I have feared that I did not and could not fit in, was not smart enough, good enough, or pretty enough. And although I still feel scared sometimes, I know that living from a place of fear has not, does not, and will not serve me. All it does is keep me believing I am not safe and feeling small.
Oh God of Second Chances Here I Am Again: Facing Fear With Courage
In a beautiful celebration at Saint Cajetan’s at MSU Denver on October 18, 2022, we celebrated the release of Oh God of Second Chances Here I Am Again. Wearing my ruby red cowgirl boots and, to my great delight, not totally quaking in fear, I was there with people, my people, who have and continue to support me along this journey, as I walk with them, supporting them, along theirs. And, to another absolute delight, Oh God of Second Chances Here I Am Again has been really well received, hitting the number one position in sales on Ingram on the day of the launch.
Lately I’ve been wondering what and who I’d be right now if I hadn’t found the courage to write this book. What if I let the fear of it being a flop, ridiculed or judged stop me from creating something beautiful, something written from my heart, something intended to connect with and help inspire all the beautiful women out there who sometimes, most of the time, or even all of the time feel too afraid to let their brilliance shine? What if, as I’ve done too many times in the past, I allowed myself to believe that I wasn’t safe being seen and thinking that playing small was better than maybe (and it’s always just a maybe) falling flat?
As I mulled over above, I also wondered Eleanor Roosevelt and her journey of being brave. What if the exquisite Eleanor Roosevelt hadn’t faced her fears, gaining strength, courage and confidence every time she stopped to look fear in the face, doing those things she thought she could not?
Here’s the thing—maybe the most important thing—that I’ve learned professionally over 25 years as a social worker, consultant and leadership and empowerment coach for women. Whether we’re playing small or shining bright, life is going to knock us down—sometimes to our knees. But, with the grace of God, the Divine, this incredible universe, we have, in every moment, the gift of second chances and the ability to get back up again and again.
Stepping Bravely Into Our Lives
Who Am I?
This is a question that I’ve asked of myself countless times, at various stages of my life, and one that I will no doubt ask many times again.
I know I’m not the only woman who asks this of herself while working hard to be a good parent, partner and friend. Or, when stepping into a new role, perhaps at work, in her family or in the community. Or when feeling overwhelmed, lonely, disconnected or afraid. Or, in those moments in meditation, yoga, or nature, or when we finally have some time alone to tap into our longings, desires, purpose and what and who are, are supposed to be, want to be, are meant to be, and innately are.
It takes courage to ask this real and raw question of ourselves. It takes even more courage to answer it honestly. And, it takes radical courage to listen to the wisdom of our hearts and step bravely into our lives.
I ask this in my book and I’m going to ask it of you here now, too.
What is it that you desire?
What is it that your heart longs for?
What scares you and would require courage and faith to pursue?
As I was working on this blog, I came across this quote by the always inspiring Martha Beck.
“Fear is the raw material from which courage is manufactured. Without it, we wouldn’t even know what it means to be brave.”
Writing a book scared me. So did giving my TEDxCrestMoorParkWomen “The Illusion of Perfectionism” in 2016. Actually, doing that talk at that time in my life took fear to terror! But, I did it. And, I didn’t do these things because I’m some crazy brave superwoman. I did them because I learned to listen to and trust Divine guidance. I learned to follow my heart. I learned how to practice getting back up again and again and to accept support, which over time, gradually began to soften some of the fear. I learned how to employ courage to face 25,000 fears and instead of being afraid of failing (there’s always plenty of that!), I let myself surprise myself with what I CAN do.
Here’s to walking your courageous path and delightfully surprising yourself too. As the famous saying goes, do something everyday that scares you. What can and will you do to face even one fear and delightfully surprise yourself today?
In sisterhood and with love,
Please join us for TEDxCherryCreekWomen on November 13th!
Also, Kansas City, my second book launch is coming to you soon! If you’re in the area on November 10, 2022, I’d be honored to have you join us from 4pm-6pm at Red Door Wood Fire Grill for a book launch/signing celebration. You can get additional details and RSVP here.