When I was 19-years-old I sat on a table in a small room, waiting for my turn to audition for a local musical production. Next to me was a good friend named Kerri. I had long idolized her. She was an amazing singer, a talented athlete, homecoming queen. And she was actually genuine and fun. As we chatted, suddenly she burst out with a completely unexpected sentiment:
“Alison, you should run for Miss Orem.”
What? Me? Hahaha. Ha. Huh?
When I was eight-years-old my Sunday School teacher was Rosemary Dunn. She was tall and poised, with long strawberry blonde hair. She was kind and sweet and made me feel important. And she was Miss Orem. I was in awe and wanted nothing more than to be just like her. I even told my mom I wished she hadn’t named me “Alison,” but had called me “Rosemary” instead.
But the fat, freckled, bespeckled red head was never, ever going to be Miss Anything. But here was Mountain View’s Queen Kerri, seriously suggesting I could be one, too.
Because of her encouragement, I saw a glimmer of a possibility. I thought maybe there was a tiny bit of an outside chance that perhaps I could be in the remote ballpark of being capable of competing in a beauty pageant.
To be clear, I know beauty isn’t the most important thing on earth. (And the older I get, the more I need that to be true!) I’m disgusted with the emphasis our culture has on the physical and I don’t encourage my own girls to pursue this kind of thing. But at the time, feeling beautiful was so far off the map that the idea was remarkable. And because I followed her advice, I ended up with some great friends and college money for my efforts. Oh, and tiaras — which is really why I competed in the first place.
Still, however, I often find myself in the same trap. I don’t dream big because I don’t think I qualify. I don’t put my best effort because I’m pretty sure it’s hopeless anyway. Being mediocre isn’t awesome, but it’s safe and comfortable. But it’s still not awesome.
Being reasonable allows you to feel safe in the sense of knowing that your actions will turn out pretty much the way you expect them to.
If you dive in head first, you might win the gold medal, but you might drown. If I just paddle around the edges, I won’t win any prizes, but I’ll have a decent view.
Is that enough for you?
Join me in the 100 Day Challenge!