First day jitters

Today is the first day of Kindergarten for my little princess. Last night, as she prepared for bed, she picked out her outfit – a cute pink summer dress – hung it on the back of her door with her princess backpack, and jumped in bed for her last night of summer.

As we talked about her first day of school, she said to me, “Daddy, I’m a little scared about tomorrow”. I put my arm around her and told her it’s okay to be afraid, and we talked about meeting new friends and reading books and playing on their awesome play structure. I shared a new word with her – courage – and we talked about what it means to be courageous when we are afraid.

After our conversation, we prayed together for her to be courageous on her first day of school, and then she rolled over and went to sleep as I sang her favorite Christmas songs. As I walked out of her room, it hit me how honest and vulnerable kids can be, and how often adults don’t choose this route.

As adults, we have learned to hide what’s going on inside and not let anyone see our fears. Somewhere along the way, we learned that the world is not interested in those who are afraid, but aren’t we all a little afraid every once in a while?

I recently set some really big goals for myself, and I am deftly afraid I will not hit them. I’m afraid I will come up short and miss the mark, but what lesson will it teach my little princess on her first day of Kindergarten if I am not willing to express my fears. What will it teach her if I do not summon the courage to work towards my goals in spite of my fears? Sadly, it will teach her the lesson that too many of us have learned, and that is to stop trying new things.

Today is the first workday in September, and maybe, just maybe, it should be the first day for something new for you. What is it that you have been wanting to do, but you are so afraid that you haven’t tried it yet? It could be a new hobby, a sport you used to play, or a weight-loss program you’re scared to try. Today is the day to get started, and here are three tips to help you move past your fears:

1. Write down what you are afraid of. What is holding you back from trying something new or setting a goal for yourself? When you write it down, you acknowledge that it is real.

2. Share your fear with someone you trust. This probably sounds contrary to every feeling you have inside of you, but go with me on this one. Fear’s best friend is solitude, so sharing something this personal with someone you trust creates a community of support, which fear hates.

3. Figure out your next step to getting started, and do it. it doesn’t even matter what the next step is, just so long as you do it whether you feel like it or not! You’re much more likely to act your way into feeling than feel your way into action.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and it’s never too late to try something new or pick up an old hobby you used to enjoy. And it’s okay to be afraid, for taking action in the midst of fear is the very definition of courage.

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