Today is Just Show Up's first anniversary. I wanted to celebrate with a cake, streamers, and a ticker-tape parade, because it's really the first anniversary of putting my fears to bed. In June of 2008, I was an online newbie, my white knuckles a testament to the level of anxiety I felt about starting a blog. Especially since it would not be a personal blog, but rather, a blog for a nonprofit organization. Gulp. Enter sweaty palms, flying monkeys, and The Wicked Witch of the West.
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the past year has had its share of "false evidence appearing real". Fear has reared its ugly head, time and again, and many times I felt more like the Cowardly Lion. But, one year later, I sit a little taller in my chair as I plug away at my keyboard.
The journey was a slow but steady process. There was no defining moment, when a Good Witch of the North helped me to discover that the power to change was always within me. It didn't happen overnight, but the good news is that I'm learning (by and large) not to shrink back from challenges. And, more importantly, only I have the power to activate change within myself.
MacKenna Pefley, an 8th-grader, didn't have to wait over 50 years to learn this lesson. Last year, she "suffered from serious anxiety, which made her physically and emotionally unable to attend classes." But with the help of family, friends, teachers and staff, MacKenna Pefley overcame her fears and now attends classes regularly.
MacKenna used her first-hand knowledge of anxiety to "help other students with similar special challenges." She is a peer assistant in an autism focus program and works hand-in-hand with the teachers to assist students in the program who need help focusing on goals and life skills.
When trained adults are unable to reach the students, MacKenna steps in and "holds the student's hand, whispers in his or her ear and talks the student into calmness. The students don't hesitate to follow her lead."
MacKenna discovered that she "likes to help others and it makes me feel good to know I can make a difference."
It struck me then. Is the key to unlocking our potential as simple as acknowledging that the power to make a difference is within each of us?
What do you think? I'd love to hear your take on this. And while you're at it, do you know someone who faced their worst fears and, in the process, was able to transform other people's lives?