An acquaintance I met years ago recently tagged me in a post of a video on vulnerability. Specifically Dr. Brene Brown’s follow up from her appearance and presentation on Ted Talk that went viral on her take and study on vulnerability. This peaked my curiosity. Why would this lovely acquaintance think of me in reference to that post and Dr. Brown’s message? So I watched it. The whole thing.
As I listened and played through all the segments (several times), I sat back and took a breath. I didn’t just agree with it, I realized I was living it.
In life, we can choose to sit back in the cheap seats and be a spectator, or we can choose to enter the arena where it is dirty and dangerous–and also where the possibility of victory and a life worth living is. We can choose to enter the arena and show up, or not. Part of showing up is getting your butt kicked. In the arena there is failure, but if failure happens, at least fail while daring greatly.
If failure happens, at least fail while daring greatly.
The flip side of that is, if you are also not in the arena getting your butt kicked, with all due respect, I am not interested in your feedback. If not also in the arena, you are not worthy of being part of the journey…or the victory. That right is to be earned. There are a lot of cheap seats in this world. Spectator seats where you can sit back, look on, and not risk anything and throw criticism and judgment at the people who are trying. Vulnerability and taking the risk to enter the arena is not about winning and losing, it is about having the courage to show up and be seen for who you really are while not having all the answers. Especially when you don’t have the answers.
Being vulnerable, taking risks and choosing to enter the arena where failure can happen is scary. It’s downright terrifying and even dangerous. But not as terrifying, scary, or dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and realizing, “What if I had shown up?”
This can look differently for different people. Showing up can be taking that step and saying I love you and I want to be with you. Or maybe even having the courage to walk away. It can be going back to school, saying no to a boss and putting your family first, maybe stepping back from a job that’s not right and applying for a new one, applying for that promotion, pursuing a long time deep down business dream, having the courage to address an addiction or a relationship problem, or sometimes even in just taking a new route home or walking in and attending a social situation where you know no one. Showing up is in following God’s leading into what to us can look like a very shaky, uncomfortable, awkward and unknown situation…however big or small that may be.
True life is not lived in the comfort zone. It is not a spectator sport. It is also very important on who’s in the arena with you.
I think it is for this reason that I am so touched and honored by the people who have chosen to be a part of this 30×30 journey. Years ago when I penned the list of those 30 things on my “bucket list” and the detailed dreams I wanted to do before turning 30, I unknowingly entered the arena. Fast forward into these last two weeks as we launched the Life Before the Lottery: Living Beyond The Bucket book into the public realm and all the uncertainty that goes with that, and I was floored and humbled by all those who have chosen to enter the arena with me. There are amazing souls who chose to be a part of the experience and to stand with me in the arena. The faces were beautiful. The smiles real. My life and the road I have been asked to walk in my journey is not safe, it is not normal, and those who choose to stand close run the risk of getting hit with the shrapnel thrown my way. So to all who have been a part of this 30×30 journey and this book dream, who have chosen to follow the story and root for this girl who has no idea what she’s doing–thank you.
And for those who choose to enter their own arenas and start on the path God is calling them…I stand amazed and I am rooting for you.
Ashlee Bratton, author of Life Before The Lottery: Living Beyond The Bucket is a professional photographer, freelance writer, and entertaining speaker with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in business administration.
Along with completing 29 of the 30 things on her 30×30 list, her writing contributions include numerous publications such as Vail’s EAT magazine, creating a 56 page Visitor Guide for a mountain ski town, blogging and guest blogging, being featured in multiple newspapers and e-zines, and various other projects.
She currently keeps her camera in hand in Southern Colorado, is a total foodie, and takes plane rides for fun.
Sign up to follow the journey at AshleeBratton.com.