What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?
It’s quite a question, isn’t it? More like being ‘called out’, forcing us to walk our talk, show what we’re really all about.
I love the images that come to mind, and when I read the book by the same title by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons, I fell into an instant pool of understanding. It just clicked with me.
Inspired by memories of childhood literary heroes such as Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Jo from Little Women, Nina and Mary Beth set out to create a collection of modern day heroes-men and women who courageous embodied real-life examples of grit and tenacity in the face of tough times.
Part daily motivational, part narrative, the collection of stories in What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?: How to Transform Fear Into Courage offers short yet powerful glimpses into lives of men and women who don’t necessarily make the front pages of news websites, nor do they trend on social media. Rather, these heroes and heroines humbly share their stories ranging from community organizers, care givers, athletes, immigrants, military service people, Holocaust survivors and teenagers chasing their dreams. Their common thread? They are ordinary people, who, in the face of adversity, dig deep and achieve more than they ever knew they could.
Sounds like a great read, doesn’t it?
I particularly enjoyed the organization of What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?. Divided into ten chapters, each provides a thematic approach to differing aspects of courage. Each chapter then provides a ‘sidebar’ with inspirational quotes and tips on how to act courageously in our lives, ideas like “10 Courage Rituals”, “Getting Help With Identifying the Source of Your Fears”, “A Checklist to Jump-Start Your Reinvention”, and “Five Tips for Putting Your Passions Out There” offer easy to read, easy to apply strategies that make the reader feel like they, too, can become a more courageous person.
One story that particularly moved me was “Downhill all the way: the courage to become an Olympian” about Foreste Peterson, a local alpine ski racer with aspirations for the Olympics. I’ve written before about my life as a ski racing mother, and how committed my children are to the sport of ski racing, so when I realized that Foreste’s story so mirrors my own children’s aspirations, I wiped away the tears and handed the book to my 17-year-old daughter. Foreste’s words of wisdom? “Show up prepared to brave all aspects of life.”
This decade of my forties has pushed me in ways I never imagined. Mothering, teaching, writing, and developing my voice has simultaneously created both a precarious sense of fear alongside an ever strengthening sense of courage. As my children grow up and away from home, I feel an impending urgency to not only name my fears, but also to conquer them. What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail? couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
This post originally appeared on Jennifer Wolfe’s blog, mamawolfe.