When a fresh basket of laundry comes out, I’m not the most eager to begin folding. But with the hustle and bustle of Christmas coming up, I took it upon myself to help and fold some clothes. And since I had the kids helping me I figured we would have them knocked out in a few hours. Normally as we fold our offspring have their own way of helping. The knight of the house will help with sorting and fold some small towels then carry and throw them into their rightful place. I think he learned that from daddy!
But our little princess is great at taking things out of the basket then putting them back in. Then grabbing things already folded and put them back into the basket as well. It is really a race against time with a mixture of baseball, basketball, some football, and a few ninja moves to get it all done.
But last night as she began to pull things from the basket she grabbed my favorite red towel. This is the towel that reminds me to get up and do hard things when I want to take it easy. This is the towel that I use as a reminder that I often fall short and to always give my best. This is the towel that I had thrown on my shoulders after coming up short when I took a big chance.
This towel was the one they slapped around me after I crawled out of the water when I fell on American Ninja Warrior. For a few months, this towel got stashed deep under the sink as it was a reminder and embarrassing that I had fallen. I felt that I had let my family down. I felt that I had failed.
She took that towel, grabbed a baby doll and covered herself up. She laid there peacefully snuggling with her baby doll. I watched and reveled in the sweetness for a moment before snapping a photo. Then I went over and snuggled up beside her rubbing her back.
Thankfully I have good people around me. They helped me to see that I had not failed but had done more than most thought possible. I had made it onto the course and even had my run shown on national television. I had been there, faced countless fears, and overcome obstacles just to be on the American Ninja Warrior course.
Failure is better than fear. I am willing to fail all day long but I never will allow fear to dictate my actions or inactions. It’s not always been this way. I have allowed fear to talk me into a life of inaction. Sitting on the sidelines afraid of what I knew I needed to do. I was scared of doing what I really knew was the best and I had so many reasons. It’s too tough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, they don’t like me, you have to be blah blah blah they went on.
When I looked myself in the face I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a scared little boy, I saw a poser. I saw a miserable and unhappy camper. And I hated it.
So I decided to start doing the things I feared. I began doing hard things. I accepted challenges that were far outside of my known capacity and skill set. And although I often failed, I was happy at the end of the day.
I realized that failure is not bad. Sure you come up short and you are disappointed. But just going for it. Just facing the fear and kicking it in the teeth you are moving forward. And forward is much closer to the goal than just sitting on the couch.
Now I use this towel as part of my workouts. To make pull-ups tougher. It wipes sweat, mud, and blood that often accompanies my training. It is a steady reminder that I came up short. It reminds me to push harder. It reminds me that I only have this towel because I overcame obstacles and kicked fear in the face.
Seeing my sweet baby girl using the towel that represents my failings reminded me that. although I may have fallen short and made a big splash on national television, the true failure is fear.
For years I would catch episodes of American Ninja Warrior on NBC and think, I bet I could do that. But I sat there and watched never taking action, until that one day.
I did what was needed and soon the call from Hollywood came. I was invited to run the American Ninja Warrior course.
I had my doubts and often felt unprepared but I never let the fear of failing, the fear of the unknown, or even the fear of success stop me.
And that is the key. Knowing fear is there. Knowing it will be there. Knowing where to turn it to. Knowing who to give the fear to so that you can do what you need to do. Fear will paralyze us
All too often we see the obstacles ahead of us and think they are too big. We fear the failure that looks ever looming. We let fear rule and never attempt to give ourselves a chance to win. We can take a chance and risk it all or we could just sit on the couch and passively watch others testing the limits all the while saying “What if……”.
Do you have a memento that serves as a reminder that you are capable of more? If so, keep it ever present. If not, get one and kick fear in the teeth!
Be a man of action!