There’s a wonderful story, by David MacNally which he put to video with Mac Anderson, about an eagle who, in the process of helping her babies fly, must push them from the nest — because if she didn’t, they would stay forever stuck in the belief they don’t know how to fly. At one point, the mother Eagle asks herself, “Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?”
Most things I’ve tried in my life, I have felt fear.
Sometimes I’ve ignored the fear. Sometimes I’ve given into it.
Whenever I’ve given into my fear, I’ve carried with me a regret — because fear is not a good motivator of growth. Fear keeps me stuck.
When I took on my current role as Interim Executive Director at the Family Emergency Shelter and Housing agency where I work, fear kept whispering in my ear, “You know you’ll fail… you know they’re going to find out you don’t know what you’re doing.”
I had to choose to breathe into my fear to get to the place where my courage was calling me to leap; even if I didn’t know if I could fly.
Fact is: Failing is always an option. So is flying.
I have been blessed. In my four months in this role, I have surprised myself with my capacity to lead. And I have been surprised by my willingness to accept support and encouragement from others.
Because that’s the thing about my fear… to hide it, I have been known to pretend I know what I’m doing, even when I don’t. And, when I’m pretending I know what I’m doing, I put up walls that are meant to protect me, but mostly just keep me isolated and repeating the same mistakes again and again.
One of the lessons I’ve learned to appreciate and embrace as I’ve stretched myself into this role is that, it’s not about avoiding mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning new things, stepping into a different role, challenging myself to grow. What doesn’t have to be part of it is, giving up or not attempting it in the first place. What I’ve learned is that as long as I trust myself enough to acknowledge my mistakes and have the courage to not put up walls by defending against them, I am open to receive their lessons. And in that place, grace has appeared again and again in the form of the people around me who are willing to encourage and support me to get back up.
I have had a lot of people encouraging and supporting me throughout this journey. They are the best kind of people to have around. I am so grateful.
Over the next few weeks, I will be stepping out of this role as a new ED will be appointed. I don’t know who it will be. I do know that whatever the outcome, I have been blessed with this incredible opportunity to work alongside some of the most compassionate, intelligent and passionate people I have ever met.
My life is richer for this experience, not because of the things I’ve done or learned or achieved, but rather, because the people I’ve walked alongside have made my journey so much richer with their presence and their willingness to give me a push when I needed it, a hand up when I fell, a shoulder to lean on when I grew weary and a light when I struggled to find my way.
I am truly blessed. I began this journey with fear and have found myself courageously soaring with heroes all around me.