If I were to tell a story of personal challenge I might choose to talk about those things I’ve ticked off the bucket list.
I’d tell you about flying a powered hang-glider or zipping down the world’s longest zip-wire.
I’d talk about diving with the great white sharks or the time I backpacked through China and ate something that may or may not have still been alive…
I might recount how I free-fell over a waterfall whilst white water rafting or rode thousands of kilometres on a motorbike…
But I won’t.
I wont because the most difficult personal challenge of all is not only about adventure sports or dangerous animals.
It has to do with a simple choice – the choice to be yourself.
We live in a world tied up in knots. A world where we arrive full of hope only to become quickly enmeshed in a tangle of societal pressures and the expectations of others.
We are born pegs of all different shapes and sizes who soon learn that we’re supposed to fit neatly into the rows and rows of uniform round holes laid out before us. “Life” becomes a constant quest to knock off our corners and rough edges, to sand ourselves down, smooth ourselves out and make ourselves “fit”.
It is a desire to belong, a need for acceptance that motivates us.
It takes courage to be different. To step out of the mold and stand alone. It can be a scary experience standing vulnerable and exposed, being frowned upon for making the place look untidy with your non-conformity, sometimes looking longingly at the comfortable space you’ve vacated, knowing how easy it would be to slip back in and pretend….
Being yourself requires having space around you.
It requires being with yourself, knowing yourself, accepting yourself.
It requires stillness, honesty and the willingness to face the unknown.
It involves risk and the ability to embrace failure.
It requires letting go of worrying about the opinions of others or the shoulds or supposed to’s of life.
But most of all it requires the courage to make the choice.
The choice to be the person you were meant to be.
That is the ultimate personal challenge….