If you think there’s nothing a kid can teach you, think again.
For the last two months, I’ve been touring Southern California schools presenting talks and workshops about courage and resilience based on my book, Stand Tall. The enthusiasm of my young audiences tells me they learn a lot. I learn from them as well.
The Courage Contest
In honor of my visit, one school held a “courage contest,” inviting children to write stories of courage depicting a time they had faced their fears. I was asked to read and “judge” the stories. There were numerous courageous tales in which boys and girls displayed inner strength and resilience. Many were noteworthy, but the one that captured my heart was written by a six year old girl. Her story offered a simple message we can all learn from.
This first grader’s story began by acknowledging her fear of performing in a public ballet recital. Although she’d rehearsed for months, her nerves got the better of her. She wanted to quit. But suddenly, she said, things changed “when the curtain went up.”
“Do you know what I did?” she wrote. “I just danced.”
Dancing Into Fear
Often we let fear stop us from being fully present in our own lives. We fail to do our best or to take a chance because we’re afraid. The “I just danced” message reminds us that, despite our fears, the best things in life happen when we muster the courage to “just” show up, stand up and try.
We gain confidence and self-belief when we are willing to override the negative self-talk in our heads and “just” move. “I just danced” is a mindset, a habit we must practice…every single day.
So, just dance–whatever your dance may be.