Saturday, December 28, 2013

Becoming Your Best Self: I Dare You

If you are anything like me as 2014 inches closer and closer I get this urge to see how I can plan and organize for the New Year and make it the best one yet! 

My friends over at Conscious Discipline inspired me to write this post because of the video series they are promoting right now titled, "Being the Best You can Be."  (We'll talk more about that tomorrow, but you can check it out now by clicking over to their Facebook page by following the link above.)

When I was in high school I was awarded a scholarship to attend the National Leadership Conference which is sponsored by the American Youth Foundation.  The scholarship was named the "I Dare You Award" and I was given this book that is written by William H. Danforth.

Dare you to do what?  Up until this point, the only dares I knew of were the ones that came from my sister or friends when playing Truth or Dare and it usually wasn't very pretty. 

At Camp Miniwanca that summer I was dared to push myself beyond my limits, seek balance in my physical, mental, social, and religious life, and discover my personal best.  I met friends from around the world and broadened my perspective on life.  I found confidence and strength and learned what I am truly capable of achieving.

The years have past and so much has changed.  At times, my life is so off balance it's a wonder I don't just fall over!  You know how it is as a mommy and wife and what a challenge it can be to "do life" and maintain or find any balance at all.  It's not just about me anymore.  The dare hasn't changed, but the impact has.

As a mom, you are the balance.  It's like you're that tight rope walker with your hands outstretched.  Here you are, walking a fine line and trying to keep your balance.  On one hand you have meals to plan, diapers to change, boo-boos to kiss, clothes to fold, budgets to balance, homework to check, baths to give, and the many other jobs that just seem to fall into your life.  In the other hand you have your own self-care, exercise, friends, church, volunteering, reading and learning, and for many moms there is also a 40 hour work week outside the home.  I have to say, being a mom takes super power!

Tomorrow we are going to talk about some of the super powers I rely on to help me find balance.  You know as well as I do when things get too off balance you WILL fall!  Whether it's illness, weight gain, lack of energy, or an all out meltdown, it will happen if you don't take care of yourself!
When you go to the circus you see that the tight rope walker usually has some sort of safety net hanging below.  What's your safety net?  It could be the difference between bouncing back when you fall and landing flat on your face like a pancake!  Who wants that to happen?

So, that is my dare this year.  Will you join me?  I am reflecting on the steps I can take to put more margin in my life.  Whether it is with my time, money, energy, or relationships, when there is no margin, I get stressed out and it just isn't pretty!  What steps are you willing to take to put some margin back in your life.

Over the next few days I will be sharing some of my reflections as I look back on 2013 and prepare for the New Year.  Will I ever get to my destination of "best self"?  I see life as a journey, not so much focused on exactly where I will land, but more on what I learn along the way.  My plan is to enjoy the journey!

To help you prepare for the New Year that lies ahead, here is an excerpt from I Dare You by William H. Danforth with his dare for you:

IT IS DIFFICULT to put a challenge on paper. I would rather look you straight in the eye and say, "I dare you!" In my mind that's exactly what I am doing. I am on one side of a table. You are on the other. I am looking across and saying "I dare you!"
I Dare You, young man, you who come from a home of poverty—I dare you to have the qualities of a Lincoln.
I Dare You, heir of wealth and proud ancestry, with your generations of worthy stock, your traditions of leadership—I dare you to achieve something that will make the future point to you with even more pride than the present is pointing to those who have gone before you.
I Dare You, young mother, to make your life a masterpiece upon which that little family of yours can build. Strong women bring forth strong men.
I Dare You. boys and girls, to make life obey you, not you it. It is only a shallow dare to do the foolish things. I dare you to do the uplifting, courageous things.
I Dare You, young executive, to shoulder more responsibility joyously, to launch out into the deep, to build magnificently.
I Dare You, young author, to win the Nobel prize.
I Dare You, young researcher, to become a Microbe Hunter.
I Dare You, boy on the farm, to become a Master Farmer—A Hunger Fighter.
I Dare You, man of affairs, to have a "Magnificent Obsession."
I Dare You, Grandfather, with your roots deep in the soil and your head above the crowd, catching the rays of the sun, to plan a daring program to crown the years of your life.
I Dare You, who think life is humdrum, to become involved. I dare you who are weak to be strong; you who are dull to be sparkling; you who are slaves to be kings.
I Dare You, whoever you are, to share with others the fruits of your daring. Catch a passion for helping others and a richer life will come back to you!

What is your dare for 2014?  How can you challenge yourself and find more balance as you become your best self?  In the words of Mr. Danforth, "...share with others the fruits of your daring.  Catch a passion for helping others and a richer life will come back to you!"  I DARE YOU!

Click the image above for a free printable that you can hang up in your home or office to inspire you throughout the coming year!  This is the motto of the American Youth Foundation and it has inspired me for over 23 years to be my best self and unlock my highest potential as I make positive impact on the world around me.