Tag Archives: perseverance

Daring Greatly

Standard

Last week I started reading a new book, Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown. She is a fabulous author and I know her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, will be a regular read for me. This new title jumped out at me since I’m not the most daring person I’ve ever known and I can usually use a little push (okay, maybe a big shove) to get me going. I’m wonderful at planning and plotting and preparing. But daring to take the actual plunge, dive, or risk is a different matter entirely.

The title of the book comes from a quote taken from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. That quote was Brian’s #1 favorite; he wrote it down in numerous places, reminding himself he was the one in the arena of his life and the armchair quarterbacks in their comfy seats shouldn’t get him down. I had to chuckle a little as I read the very familiar lines from that speech, words I have read many times before. In a way, it felt like Brian sending me another message. It took me back to that talk in the hospital when he told me to write, to tell our story, and to chase after the things I wanted.

My own inner critics like to talk to me all the time, reminding me that I’m really not good enough to do the things I dream of doing. They like to let me know I’m too short, don’t speak eloquently, lack an adequate education, am too introverted, and I’m definitely not daring enough. Through some coaching, I’m learning to talk to those critics… out loud sometimes… and put them back in their place. They actually have names. Laugh if you want, but it’s easier to put a critic in her place when you can call her by name! One of them, oddly enough, is named Eleanor after that other Roosevelt’s wife.

Daring Greatly is about vulnerability, one of the scariest things in the universe. When I wrote my first journal entry online when Brian got sick I felt so exposed. Journals are meant to be locked and protected from prying eyes, after all. But it was necessary to keep friends and family posted on the circumstances – it was practical. Knowing those couple dozen people were reading my thoughts made me a little queasy. I had no idea at the time that it would lead here. Being vulnerable is frightening. It has meant telling people I don’t know what I’m doing, that I feel angry, unworthy, quite uncertain, and afraid. Being vulnerable has also meant saying I’m sorry, I’m lonely, and I’m sad. I’m not done reading the book, but I can already give it two thumbs up and a big Joyful on Purpose endorsement (if I dare greatly enough, someday that might be a big deal ;)). Thanks for letting me dare, dream, bare my soul, share my grief, and pass along my joys.

Daring = Joy

Facing Fears and Letting the Rebel Win

Standard

“Write a book!” they said. “Okay, I think I will!” I said. [insert sound of laughter] So, here the pages sit before me. 49,895 words that need to be edited and revised before the really serious writing begins.

I have been putting the project off for a while, not because I’m afraid to start or afraid to fail. Wait, that’s not true. That’s actually a whopper of a lie. I’m very afraid to start and exceedingly afraid of failing. But that’s not why I haven’t started. It’s because I’m about to relive 112 days that I never in my wildest imagination thought I’d experience. I’m about to put in all the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and words that I wasn’t able to say at the time and also the new revelations I’ve had since May 28th.

There are probably some rules written somewhere on the proper way to write a book: how to organize, schedule, write, edit, revise, edit again, etc. There are no doubt things I should do and things I shouldn’t do. And I’m one of those who would follow all the rules…normally. I adore a good schedule! I love a list of dos and don’ts! But this week I’ve been encouraged and dared to stop being practical, to challenge the way I think things should be done and follow my own way. So I sat down and had a conversation with myself (Practical Jacque and Rebel Jacque have interesting talks… Practical Jacque wins a lot; Rebel Jacque pouts a lot) about how I need to approach my project, my new baby. It began with Practical Jacque saying, “You’ve already got a blog. You don’t need to write a book, and what if no one buys it? What if you don’t even finish it? It’s going to take a lot of time and energy that could be spent elsewhere.” It ended with Rebel Jacque saying, “Shut up and write…” So, here it goes!

Today, do something impractical. Break your own rules (but not any laws, please… wink, wink). Follow your own dreams. Take a chance in even a little way. Face your fear of starting something by starting something! Face your fear of failure by failing and then starting over again!

Starts, Stops, and Failures = Joy

Sunlight

Standard

What I remember most about that day is sunlight. The sunlight, filtering through the trees, was so golden and bright. It made the kitchen cheerful and warm. The boys and I were gathered at the kitchen table, also known as “the school room” on weekday mornings. Brian was 8 and Jordan was 6 and we had just begun school about a week earlier (third and first grade), once again homeschooling after a 2-year break. I had a little American flag that we’d look at as we put hands to heart and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, a little morning ritual during the early elementary years. I am almost positive we had just finished up handwriting when I got a phone call from Brian. He was driving in his work truck, headed to someplace in Missouri for the day and he sounded frantic. I was so confused. He told me I needed to turn the television on and see what was happening in New York.

The school day came to a halt. Everything had just changed…

Everything except that golden sunlight. It remained throughout the day until is sank behind the trees and the moon and stars took over. It is so vivid in my mind eleven years later. I can see it so clearly and almost feel it all over again. I think about it every year at this time. To me, over a decade later now, it symbolizes life. So much of life was tragically lost that day, but in the eleven years since, so much has been created. The sun keeps rising and setting and rising and setting, casting it’s golden light on us. We all see that sunlight and it’s the same light no matter where you are on Earth. I don’t deny that evil exists in the world, that hatred and violence reside in some hearts… but not all. The way to shatter that darkness is with light.

Light = Joy

Perseverance

Standard

Several weeks ago I received a card in the mail, thanking me for what I have written and asking me to put down my thoughts on perseverance. I put the card aside and didn’t give it a whole lot of thought at the time. But over the course of a few days the word kept popping into my head. I put down a few words and left it, nothing spectacular or meaningful seeming to come through. Then, as happens more often than not lately, I found myself in a situation that called for…

Perseverance. It means to have “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” I like the first part of that definition; it’s all about action and forward motion. That second part… not quite as appealing. Do we really have to keep going through the rough stuff?

In a word: Yes!

On my vacation in San Francisco, I learned all about perseverance. It’s a 7 by 7-mile city of hills consisting of a steep grid of streets, densely packed with buildings and parks and people. My friend and tour guide challenged me to walk that grid and I took him up on every single challenge! I climbed those streets for five days, my legs screaming at me. I walked the sand ladder, paths through the Presidio, Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street, Nob Hill, and more. I called Sacramento Street my nemesis, but on day four I conquered her. I tackled the Lyon Street stairs, pushing myself to do six sets, but calling it quits after 4 ½…still a feat for someone who has spent the better part of a decade on the flat Florida coast. If I had not been willing to climb the hills I would have missed the sweeping vistas.

Joyful on Purpose is my perseverance. Over the last 38 years, I have been pretty timid, not wanting to push myself too much, unsure that I had enough in me to truly succeed (sidebar: success does not equal money or prestige). I have tended to play it very safe, never straying too far off the predictable course and doing my best to never rock the boat. Then I found myself in the water without a life jacket. The boat had been not only rocked, but tipped and sunk. I know there is land. I can see it. So I am now swimming toward it and that is taking perseverance, the same kind it took to conquer the streets of San Francisco.

Were it not for the rough waters I’ve been through, I think I’d be content to sit back and not push myself. If I had not faced the sadness and the heartache I’ve experienced, I don’t know that I would have such a desire for joy, peace, and goodness. Be thankful for the difficulties, the obstacles, the steep streets, and all the rest. Carry on, tackle the obstacles, push yourself up the steep streets, and persevere.

Perseverance = Joy