Learning to embrace the tortoise

Tortoise via Wikipedia

Change, and more importantly improving is really important to me. I take pride in improving my knowledge and skills. I love gaining new experiences which I think help to alter how I see the world, help change my perceptions and allow me to grow and think and act in different ways. I believe it is important to always be moving forward in life, rather than staying the same.

I think that is one of the reasons I came up with my list of 52 new experiences for 2013. While some of my new experiences are about making time for things that bring me enjoyment (new cafes, champagne with friends), others are more about testing my boundaries and overcoming my fears (giving blood, attempting a blue ski jump, running a half marathon). They are about trying out new things and gaining more skills and improving on some of the skills I have already.

I do love looking back and thinking “there is no way in hell I would have been able to do that a year ago”. It may be that I didn’t have the skills to do it, or it was just pure fear that held me back. With regards to the donating blood, that was nothing but fear that stopped me doing that for 20 years and now I know I will be back in 3 months time to give again. (I find it interesting how much fear gets in the way, and how easy most of these things are in practice).

Although many times in my life I have wished I would just do something, take the risk, jump off the cliff, make it happen, I am starting to realise I am the tortoise. I am a slowing and surely will win the race kind of person. A small improvement here, pushing my boundary a little bit there, trying something new there. And with each push and each opportunity to try it out, I improve and then without realising I am living a life that is changed.

I have jumped out of planes, skied off-piste, run my own business, moved to the other side of the world, stood in front of a room of people and spoken, pushed my comfort zone and made it happen. Each time I say yes I get a small little buzz and a sense of change and growth.

So although I would love to be one of those “no fear” people who ski like a bat out of hell on their first week on the mountain, and hit jumps and throw themselves at everything, I am learning to embrace and love my inner tortoise. I now know that I like to feel confident, and then just push the boundaries a little bit. And I know that with each little bit I grow and change.

It is the act of doing that allows the growth.

And so for me I am learning to love those small steps that add up to a giant leap. Each little action moves me somewhere different and new and for that I am truly thankful.

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