"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
I was having a rough go one week. I wasn't feeling well and scared at what the impending meaning of it may be. Many know of my story of perseverance and overcoming. Sometime I still have occasional days that make me feel bad as a result, although I'm grateful to live a very happy and normal life. When I don't feel well, it brings back a sudden fear and uncertainty. I tend to withdraw a bit until I get my bearings and feel better.
One hot, summer day in Texas, I wasn't feeling well, and my friend noticed. He asked if I was okay, at which point I poured out my fearful feelings of being scared that something may happen to take away my freedoms again in an instant. It's terrifying to face the unknown and feel failure around something that is only somewhat in my control.
The next day, I returned to my computer to see the Roosevelt quote coupled with the encouragement that facing my fears and caring for myself everyday is a testament and proof that I am in the arena. I never felt more proud to be who I am than in that moment. I am living my hero's journey every day facing my fears and expanding as a person. I may not be graceful at it one hundred percent of the time, but every day I wake up committed to be the best "me" I can be.
Are you in the arena? It is not always the easiest place to be, but if you can take a step in and live your life from there you will love and grow in ways you never imagined possible. Think of areas of our life where you can step into the arena and be a player in your life story because you can!