Lesson four for those counting: Sobriety also taught me to :
“Find the lion inside yourself and learn how to be brave.”
Putting down the crutch of drugs and alcohol and giving up old friends in order to chart a new course in my life was hard. Really hard. I was so young, and most days I felt like a raw adolescent who never acquired the blueprint for living. But every day I met incredibly brave people, many who had sunk far lower than me. And they were putting their lives back together, one day at a time. I was especially moved by a woman who shared about how she went from a high school dropout living on the streets of NYC to eventually earning her law degree. So when I finally honed in on the goal of becoming a reporter, I mustered the courage to call an editor at a local weekly paper and ask him to let me sit in on community board meetings and write them up for free just so that I could collect some clippings. A year later, partly based on those clippings, I got my first full-time reporting gig, which then led to my career with a national wire service.
Each time I took a risk and it paid off, it gave me the courage to take more risks. Did I ever stumble? Of course I did. I applied for jobs I didn’t get. I missed important deadlines. I got passed over for promotions. But the bravest people I know learned how to bounce back from failures and gather the courage to take even more risks. One of my favorite quotes comes from Helen Keller, someone who knew a fair amount about courage.
In 1940 Keller published “Let Us Have Faith” and a chapter titled “Faith Fears Not” contained the following passage:
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
What challenges have you faced that taught you valuable lessons you can apply to your working life? I’d love to hear about them. Click here to contact me.