Many years ago, I spent a few hours a day for several days weaving in a community weaving house in Finland. I was 21 and traveling as an International 4-H Youth Exchange. The IFYE program began as an attempt to build unity around the world by introducing youth to other cultures and other youth throughout other countries around the world. I was honored to be a part of the IFYE program and blessed to have gone to Finland, even though that wasn't my first choice.
There is so much about that trip that changed my life. It was more than just one defining moment; it was living the definition of who I was to become. It defined the start of my adulthood. It defined my spiritual life. It defined my marriage. It defined my creative art and ultimately it defined all of who I am.
There was so much to have stopped that trip before it even happened. For starters not informing my parents about it until after my application had been accepted; not to mention, small farm finances in the 80's. Looking back I see all the points where the trip that shaped my life could have been stopped.
It wasn't exceptional fortitude on my part or careful planning ahead of time, or that my parents knew the right people. It wasn't skill or smarts or good looks that brought that experience to fruition in my life. It wasn't even my determination or what my family calls stubbornness. Neither my parents nor I could even have understood all that trip was to mean in my life.
Just a couple of years ago I was asked by a business mentor, "What would I do if I knew I couldn't fail?" That question haunted me for many nights. You see, I couldn't imagine not failing. How about you? Does that question bring to mind all the failures of your past? It did mine and I lived there in those failures for several nights, thinking about the question.
Wouldn't you say fear of failure is a driving force in not trying something new? As I've stepped into the next chapter in my life professionally, I've marveled at the number of times I've heard myself say this is a bit scary. I've been told that researchers have found that how the body senses fear is the same as how the body senses excitement My body can't tell the difference. So if I'm venturing out into something that "I knew couldn't fail" or I'm fearing failure, my body is going to react the same ways and feel the same stress. If I'm going to feel that same stress anyway, I've decided excitement certainly sounds like more fun! lol
I do remember fears that came with the trip to Finland. I remember excitement as well. In the big picture there is so much from that trip that I can count as successful but there were also big fail moments. Aren't there always? The thing I now understand about that trip is that it wasn't me that got me there. That trip was ordained by a loving Father to set in motion His "cannot fail" plan for my life. He has me right where he wants me. He cares about the work I'm doing because He cares about the folks' I'm creating for. Taking that first step of stopping by our local Extension Office to see if 4-H still had that program...has led to taking other steps that now are backed by faith in a loving God who has a plan and a purpose for my life. The only way to fail in this adventure is not to step out. What's stopping you from your next adventure? I'd love to hear your story.