“Fortune favors the brave.”
—Terence, Phormio 161 B.C.
The following story was contributed by Kelly Simmons.I was six years old.
I stood atop the mountain, looking down at the treacherous descent that lay before me. I wasn’t ready for this. Why had I agreed to such a perilous fate?
It was Dad’s fault. He was to blame! I was perfectly content inching my way down the bunny hill at snail speed.
But now, I stared down the barrel of a green run. Terror took hold as I watched my older sister, Kristen, zip down the slope.
“C’mon Kelly,” Dad urged, coaxing me out of my momentary paralysis.
“It’s no different than the bunny hill, just a little longer. You’ll be fine honey, just stick with me,” he consoled.
Now you must understand. I was not the adventurous type as a kid. My older sister? Yes. Audacious and intrepid to the core. But me? I was more concerned with looking pretty in my hot pink ski outfit.
“C’mon Kel, you can do it,” Dad reassured. His words fell on deaf ears. I took one more glance down the slope, then burst into tears.
“No! Noooooooo! I can’t do it!” I pleaded in my most dramatic tone, which I had well perfected by this early age. I threw a fit. Screaming. Crying. Blaming.
“You made me do it!” I yelled at Dad. “I didn’t want to and you made me!” I wailed, clinging to a nearby tree in protest.
My tantrum caught the attention of some onlookers, including a concerned ski patrolman. After another few moments of hysterics, the patrolman approached my dad. I was certain they exchanged some choice words, judging by the expression on Dad’s face. Admittedly, I had major attitude as a little girl, and I had just made Dad out to look like a bully.
So what happened? After a consoling pep talk from the ski patrolman, I “allowed” Dad to escort me down the hill, very slowly. I wouldn’t talk to him for days afterward. I was so mad at him.
But did he stop pushing me? Never.
Eventually, I grew out of my “drama queen” stage, and started to see the wisdom in Dad’s intent.
If you never go for it in life, you will never get it, whatever it may be.
In high school, I was captain of the crew team, a competitive equestrian, and I maintained a high grade point average at a rigorous college prep school, taking many advanced placement courses.
I graduated from college (including a semester abroad) in three years, with honors. I became the youngest sales rep in the history of my company when I was promoted from an assistant position to an outside sales position at age 21, followed by three more promotions into other areas of academic publishing over the next three years.
All these things, and many more, were a result of Dad’s coaching. His “go for it” attitude.
Take the chance. Push the limit. See what you can accomplish.
It’s funny, today I am considered to be more of the risk taker, and my older sister has adopted the more conservative role.
It cannot be overstated. Life is short. Take the risks. Whether you stand atop a gentle green run, or the most dastardly of double black diamonds, grit your teeth and go for it.
You’ll only regret the things you do not do. Many say it. Few actually live it.