Freedom through defeat.
I have never been good at tests. I’ve never been blessed with succeeding at anything—the first time. Everything I have ever been successful at doing, came as a result of repeated failures, repeated humiliation, and not giving up. I experience freedom and courage, because of the choices I’ve made. My admission of personal powerlessness turned out to be the thing that has enabled me to do things I never thought I could do. Whether it was getting sober, finishing school after being a high school dropout, passing the Bar, once I admitted I was powerless over the outcome, I became willing to do what needed to be done to succeed.
Most of my life I was a person who chose the easy, softer, safe route. I never did anything that was too hard. I wanted to do as little work as possible, yet, I wanted big rewards. Interestingly, I met many folks along the way just like me. Sadly, making safe choices provided me with a safe and limited life. I never did anything of any real consequence, because I was afraid to fail, look stupid, or just not succeed.
Making safe choices definitely keeps you out of harms way. But in my case, it provided me with limited possibilities.
Here is a recent example of me stepping outside of my own comfort zone. When I went to law school, I thought I wanted to be a tax lawyer. I adored my Georgetown tax professor, Professor Weidenbruch; he made the subject interesting. Then I attended a number of ABA Tax Law Section programs in 1989 at the ABA Annual Meeting, and that feeling quickly left me. Tax law seemed boring. But over time, it also got to be complicated and I felt intimidated.
I am an intellectual property lawyer, and I love my work. Nine years ago, I also added Estate Planning as an additional practice area. When tax issues arose, I invited the client to bring in their own CPA to confer with me. But this year I decided to, again, step outside of my comfort zone and try something new. This summer I am starting a graduate course in Tax Law. Who would have thought? It’s scary and I am not sure what will happen, but I am going along for the ride.
Live Life to Its Fullest.
Through the grace of God and a willingness to live my life to its fullest, I no longer settle for safe choices. I no longer settle for seconds. I am always trying new things, open to meeting new people, willing to go to new places, and game for new opportunities. And yes, that means I experience more fear than the average person. Taking a chance on life is scary, but the journey is magnificent.
Today I invite you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe you’ll take a trip to a place you’ve never wanted to go. Maybe you’ll open yourself to making a friend of someone you never imagined having in your life. Maybe you’ll take a class in an area that is new and different. Whatever you decide, I invite you to be fearless and avoid making the safe choice.