I don’t know about you, but daring greatly has not always come easy for me. In fact I still struggle. When I think about both words, whether separate or apart, they are intimidating. They scare me because to dare means I have to take a risk, I don’t know the outcome, and the fear of failure takes over. To do it greatly, well either it has to be big or be successful. Then I started thinking about if I never put myself out there, how much I would miss out on. The fear of failure does win out a lot, but what if that fear wasn’t a fear at all, but a taste of trying, an attempt at being your true self and not hiding from others or sadly even yourself. After getting over the initial shock of these words and thinking about my world as an educator, a friend, a coworker, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and let’s face it a stranger to many, I started to grab on to them and began this transformation when I came to Cinco almost 9 years ago. It wasn’t something I woke up and decided to do but something heavy placed on my heart that provided opportunity to make different choices.
For many reasons that I won’t go into now, but maybe will touch on in a different blog posting or if someone asks me, I stopped operating from the negative side of life…the dramatic side if you will. I lost sight in the importance of modeling kindness, integrity, and only believed in the praise an amazing performance could bring (I was a dance teacher in my former life). I forgot that if I invested honestly into students and really people in general, they would be willing to take their own risks and possibly spread kindness to others. I could provide some strength that they themselves could not find, and we could possibly dare greatly together. The ability to walk through a tough situation with someone, problem solve together, encourage them, be their biggest fan, hold them in loving accountability or just listen ALWAYS comes back tenfold.
I’ll be honest, I missed countless opportunities to laugh, to watch growth instead of just expect growth. For a long time, I missed the gift of growing good citizens and chose to capture the bad and look past the good. My priorities, my intentions, my philosophy had been lost somewhere along the way. During my time as a teacher, I worked to bring all walks of life together. I had to find a way to knit together not only dance teams that spent countless hours together, but my regular dance classes, my friends, and even my family. My angle? We are all human and in the grand scheme of things we all affect each other…good, bad or indifferent, we are all in it together.
Now as a counselor, this has become the forefront of any discussion or problem I walk through. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sure I can teach anyone to dance, but really that’s not the focus. It’s awesome when the relationship is forged that the knowledge falls into place naturally because we are in the arena together. I’m just as invested as they are. The shift came when I started thinking about not wanting my students to be disappointed in me instead of me being disappointed in my students. I guess it really is about perspective. It became about creating a bond, a connection to someone to feel as though they can do anything that shakes them and be confident that if they fail, that we have each other’s backs.
Now, are there tough days? For sure! But I believe in order to connect and build relationships, a little bit of truth and joy goes a long way. Not the earth shattering type, but the “hey, I’m struggling today,” or “something has been heavy on my heart”, or “yesterday was a rough and I’m sad about it”. I even, while seemingly obvious, gave more praise instead of a correction or advice. Just letting those around me know a little bit helped me realize I needed to operate from the side of faith and joy in them. My choices in the little things began to change my focus that ultimately made my heart and mind soften and open.
See I have a choice each day. I have in my power to be part of a solution oriented awesome day or live in the not so awesome place of Grumpyville. Choosing awesome takes work and I would be lying if I said I didn’t fail…in fact I fail often; more often than I am proud of really. But the hope of a new day brings me joy. Making the choice of reaching out to someone can take a lifetime or an instant. The opportunity a smile creates can be endless. Daring greatly in intention, your openness in the small and insignificant things…that’s the risk. It’s easy to see and feel the scary in the mountains we have to climb, but it’s in the little things that you can greatly dare with joy!
Stacie Zimmerman, Lead Counselor