They had no idea how afraid I was.
I could hear their voices down below, encouraging, cheerful—and their laughter. For them, this was all fun and games, but I was terrified. I wondered why I had agreed to do this. Why did I think I was up to the task? But I was stuck now. It was too late to turn back, yet I was uncertain of the way forward. I was in such a narrow spot and couldn’t see the top from my vantage. My heart was pounding and I regretted keeping on the flannel-lined hoodie. The heat crept up my neck like mercury in a thermometer. Then I heard his voice beside me.
“Do you want to quit?”
In my mind I screamed “Yes!” But I couldn’t bring myself to say so out loud.
“Come on, you can do it!” I heard them saying. Their confidence shocked me.
“You can do this.” He added to their assurance with his own quiet push. “All you have to do is…”
Of course, “all I have to do”—easy for him to say. Everything is easy for him! I’m the one who struggles. I’m the one who lacks confidence. Now here I am, on the brink of something, wavering and uncertain.
It’s so typical of me.
To linger in that liminal space is always dangerous. While you waver you give yourself time to rehash all the reasons why you should quit. You recount all the things that are against you and all your weaknesses that make this present challenge impossible.
How many writers, or artists, start their great masterpiece with great excitement only to hit a wall and convince themselves that they aren’t talented enough to complete it? How many projects have you started, then quit because it got too hard? And when you get to that point, how easy is it to get distracted by the success of others? “It’s no use, we think to ourselves. Why did I ever think I could do this? How did I get here anyway?”
“Do you want to quit?”
But, there’s a crowd of people waiting for your book, your article, your story, your song, your poem, your gift—you can’t quit now!
“You can do this” says the quiet voice right next to you. That soft, encouraging voice that you love. “You’re stronger than you think and you’re closer to the end than you realize.”
No, it’s not easy, but you’ve come too far to turn back—you might as well muster the strength to push forward.
I finally decided to push past my fear.
And when I did, something amazing happened. I pulled myself over the ledge! It had been just above me all along. The cheers of my supporters erupted all around and I had to fight back a little tear–I made it! It wasn’t just a physical challenge. It was a mental challenge, symbolic of every mental battle I’ve ever fought.
Perhaps you need to hear this as much as I do: the success that you think is out of reach, is not. You just have to be brave enough to go for it. Your insecurities may be drowning out the assurances of loved ones, but you can decide to push past the fear. Move first and the mind will follow. Stop doubting and start believing that you ARE strong enough! It is at the point of your greatest despair when you will find that you are the closest to a turning point—if not the very summit that you’ve been seeking! Just. keep. climbing.