My sister and her husband have two kids who came out of the womb with ballsy temperaments. They’re not sure how this happened but as parents they’re pleased (and exhausted) by it.
We call my 3-year-old niece The Firecracker. As soon as she was old enough to express her opinions, we discovered that she was a strong-willed, emotionally complex, pink glitter-loving fashionista who scored notably high on a kiddy IQ test. (Look out, world!)
Just look what a morning of playtime with The Firecracker did to my dad:
But even a smart firecracker of a person can succumb to the fear of failure when the stakes are high.
One day, six loud and wild Eclipse family members sat around the kitchen table playing a fiercely competitive game of Candy Land. We watched with envy when The Firecracker drew a card that advanced her to a point on the board where she was just a few colored squares away from winning the game. The adult players applauded her luck (while her 6-year-old brother booed and hissed, of course), and she quietly smiled with surprise and delight.
What was happening here? Why was she so afraid?
Eventually we realized that the pressure was too much for her. Our little Firecracker, paralyzed by a fear of losing her lead in the game, could not take the steps she needed to win.
Her response to the situation was silly, endearing and heartbreaking all at once. Maybe we all saw a little bit of ourselves in her.
How many times do we as adults allow our own fears to stop us in our tracks? How often have you given up on a big goal because of your fear of failure, embarrassment, change, or risk?
How To Conquer Your Fear
It’s simple, really:
Decide which action has the greatest chance of bringing you closer to your goal, and just go for it.
That’s right — the only way to conquer your fear is to act. Do what scares you. Don’t let your worries talk you out of action. Don’t be afraid to draw a card and take your turn.
Lessons From the Firecracker’s Fate
So what happened at the end of our Candy Land game? The Firecracker won. She won because she did what scared her the most — she drew a card.
But that’s not all. The Firecracker found success because five of her family members wouldn’t allow her to bury her head in fear; we loved her enough to hold her in our arms as she flipped over her card. We comforted her in a time of anxiety, and cheered her on as she moved her plastic pawn down three squares to the coveted Candy Castle.
No matter what your Candy Castle is, there’s only one way to get there. Draw a card. Make a move. Surround yourself with people who support your dream. Push through your fear of failure for the sake of your goals and well-being. Take action.
Your Turn: What single scary step must you take to bring you closer to accomplishing an important goal?