Have you ever stood with your back against a mirror, while holding a small handheld mirror, attempting to see the back of your head? Have you noticed that when the mirror is directly in front of your face, you are not able to see the back of your head? That’s because you are standing in your own way.
When my sister received an email from the Varsity Cheer Coach, with a request for her daughter to join the Varsity Cheer Team, she didn’t respond in haste. She expressed her excitement and stated that she would talk it over with her daughter first.
My niece was hesitant about going to the Varsity Cheer Team at her new High School. It was because she somewhat felt that she would be separated from her classmates, whom are on the Jr. Varsity Team. It was understandable that she experienced these feelings, being a freshman and having spent her whole life as a cheerleader, with those who were entering high school with her. I could only imagine how scary it must have been to make such a decision, at the start of her Freshman year.
My sister wanted this for her daughter. She thought of it as we all did; a wonderful opportunity. Obviously, we were all overjoyed to hear the good news about Hailey receiving an offer to practice with the Varsity Team, as a Freshman. I am sure that it was equally rewarding for my sister to hear, as well to know that after long hours of practice, day after day, year after year, cheer competitions and national championships, that all her work as well; being a devoted and supportive mother, was paying off.
What we did not think about initially, was that Hailey may not have seen it with the lens that we saw it with. Hailey could have been looking directly into the mirror and was content with being right there in that moment with the mirror on her face, having her friends whom she’d bonded with over the years. She expressed that she did not want to split from her cheer team. I admired the fact that my oldest sister allowed her daughter to make the ultimate decision on what she wanted to do.
However, after hearing her daughters reasoning as to why she was reluctant to join the J.V. Team and having the vested interest that she has in her daughter success, she reached out to family. I was most concern about the real reason potentially being that she was deciding to stay where she was, because of insecurities about how she would perform. Was she afraid to step into her greatness? If you think about it, entering high school as a Varsity player, is A BIG DEAL. If you only think that you are good at what you do, hearing that you are phenomenal can be a lot of pressure.
I think its important that we try to understand where our children are coming from. Once we realize that its really fear that’s holding them back, we must then help them overcome their fears and anxieties. When that’s addressed, we can better explain the benefits and opportunities but at the same time, still allow them to live in their youth and enjoy it in the way that serves them most.
I could only tell Hailey what I knew. Which was that I missed a few opportunities in life, due to the fear of stepping into my greatness. I knew what it was like to rest in the comfort of being good, without the expectation of being great. I knew what it was like to remain in a place where everything around me was familiar and safe.
I also knew what it was like to wait on people. Sometimes we void opportunities to succeed or even do things we want to do, because we are waiting for someone else to do it with us.
We must realize that all things don’t happen all at once. When our opportunity comes knocking, it may not be the same time that it comes for our friends. We cannot ignore the sound, by staying on the other side of the door with those who did not get the opportunity. Their time will come. If you miss your opportunity for this reason, who knows…it could be offered to the very people who you stayed behind for.
This was something else that I knew way too much about, having done that as well. Waiting on what I thought was the right time, the right person, never admitting to myself that the real reason was fear of doing it alone- for whatever the reason was. Therefore, I also knew what it was like to look back and say that I wish I did something differently.
A lot of times we don’t see the things we want to see, do the things we want to do, go to the places we would like to go; because we are standing in our own way. When you tilt the mirror, turn your head and maneuver the mirror as well as your body, you will see the image.
In life, if we want to see what is there, it may take stepping out of our comfort zones and adjusting our position with the mirror. If you have a mirror to your face, all you see is you. If you want to see more, you might have to change the way that you are holding the mirror.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to look back and see a bunch of missed opportunities. Get out of your own way, and take advantage of the opportunities to meet new people, discover new and fresh perspectives. It could be the gateway to opening many more doors in your life. When I tilted the mirror one day, and got a glimpse… I tasted the fruit of fearlessness. I am proud of my niece for doing the same.