Life is tough. Doing what you love to do takes not only desire, but determination to overcome any obstacles in your path.
For fourteen years, Clayton was a part of our lives. Almost on a daily basis.
He became one of my husband’s closest friend, perhaps his best friend. (Next to me, of course. 😛 ) Not positive I could say that my husband was Clayton’s best friend…one of his best friends perhaps.
He was just that kind of guy. All heart and room for so many.
For me, he was inspiration. A hero of sorts. For our daughter, he was the big brother she never had.
Clayton held down a full time job, ran a cattle ranch, auctioneered, taught future ranchers, and so much more.
Pretty much from a wheelchair. He had a disability since birth, but you could never say he was disabled. Not even when things progressed to where he had to use the wheelchair all the time and couldn’t even function with crutches.
When life gets you down. When there are obstacles, physical or mental, threatening to not let you be who you want or do what you want. When you find fear moving in. When self confidence threatens to stop you.
Think of this guy.
Forge ahead. Find a way to make it work.
Be like Clayton.
Check out this youtube video about Clayon to see why he influenced hundreds of people during his short life. This was an interesting find for me because my husband was actually with him when the call came through about his house burning down that’s mentioned at the first of the video.
On this rainy day, I thought I’d write something a little inspiring. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone takes a bit of facing fears for some, courage for others, and a bit of both for some. Often, it’s a question of not realizing we can face new experiences and overcome the obstacles those experiences place before us.
Certainly, we’ve all had to face uncertainty and didn’t have a choice of whether or not to meet the challenges that came with it. Maybe when you’re faced with stepping out of your comfort zone to take the next step in your career or domestic life, you need to remind yourself of your past achievements.
For me, it’s stepping out to commit to years of responsibility to jumpstart my career at a time when others have said I should perhaps slow down or do something else. That I’ve wasted enough time without getting a strong enough return.
Sure, I let this process take longer than it probably should have, but I don’t think I have completely wasted my time. I believe I’ve been laying the ground work for something greater. For something that will make a positive change in our lives. We’ll be able to have better control over the choices in our lives, and to rid our life of some damaging circumstances.
This is something that requires me to remain steady, to stay positive.
I doubted that I had the courage to stay on the course put before me, that I’ve proven I will not do it already. I almost didn’t take this leap in faith for something I know I want and need. Then, I remembered a time in my life.
I had lived life as a sheltered only child at home for most of my life, being 9 years behind my youngest sibling. I was taken care of, and the safe paths were laid before me to choose from. But I stepped out of my comfort zone then because I wanted more, just like now.
I quit college and joined the Air Force. This took doing things I wasn’t very interested in doing. Traveling alone by bus, then being examined and scrutinized by strangers. Then being accepted and having to stay alone in a strange hotel with many people I didn’t know, and then flying in a few scary airplanes to an even scarier place.
While in basic training, I did what I was told. I followed the pack. I allowed 15 inches of my hair to be cut off. I became a pack mule and did exercises every morning way earlier than my mind and body claimed was natural. I did kitchen duty while defending myself from cockroaches bigger than my dog.
I had one goal once basic training started. To make it through in one shot so I could have a normal life again. We learned the dreaded word “recycle.” No one wanted to be recycled through basic training and relive the stressful time all over again.
By my wits, determination, and quick thinking, I avoided being recycled a few times.
While performing night guard duty, I missed a security step and allowed a Sergeant instructor in the door before I should have. He ripped into me with a vengeance over that. But I got another chance because I held my ground and stood firm, looking right into his eyes. Trust me, he was not kind to me and his verbal attack would have had Hercules himself cringing in fear.
But I willed myself to stay strong, and in the end he respected that. I was given the chance to make up for that mistake and I did.
Another day there were a few members recycled for not staying still. We were in this parade on a very hot day. We were to stand at attention for a long time during one part of it. Our instructors coached us on how to stand so we don’t pass out, and drilled us over and over again how we cannot move an inch, no matter what. That dreaded word “recycle” was put upon us again.
We couldn’t help our buddy next to us if he or she fainted. We couldn’t flinch at anything near us. We were not to sneeze or cough even. NO MOVEMENT.
I was determined not to be one of the recycled ones. It came close. A fly, almost as determined at ruining my life as I was at living my own life, tried to bring me down. This vile creature buzzed around me, took a joy ride around my earlobe, landed on my cheek, and enjoyed a casual stroll around my face. Never had creepy little insect legs tortured me so.
I stood there. Solid. Not moving one muscle. All because I made myself believe I could. I kept my mind on the goal I wanted to achieve, which was to get out of there and on my path to a normal daily life again.
Then, later, just before graduating from basic training a friend and I made a major mistake. We missed saluting an officer, not just any officer, but a General. This could have ended very, very badly.
I learned something about myself that day. I learned that I have a really good instinct for dealing with tough situations.
Anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a quiet person who does not do a lot of small talk. But that day, I did a lot of fast, coherent, intelligent talking to that general. While we were lightly reprimanded, we were not recycled.
My friend, who panicked and froze, thought I had super powers. I didn’t. I just gave myself the chance to let my own internal power out to lead me. We often stop listening to our best guides inside us who tells us how to deal with tough situations and get through them better than we entered.
Each day, I let that guide inside me motivate and direct me. She gives me faith, helps me open my eyes to opportunities that come to me each day, and tells me to stop being idle when I get lazy or procrastinate. She has a tough job, for I am lazy and I’ve perfected the ability to procrastinate.
When you doubt or fear, think back to memories of what you’ve faced in life and how you made it through them. Find the sources of your strengths. Find the proof of your abilities that you’ve never given yourself credit for and work on making them greater. Let your internal guide out.