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D is for Daring

I love this pic from my fight, because it shows how
alone you truly are when you step into that ring.

Hello Dear Readers,

You know that saying ‘do something everyday that scares you?’ Well, that might be taking the concept of daring to the extreme, but I think there’s something to it.

Daring is an essential component of living a life less ordinary. I’m willing to bet that your last big triumph required you to be brave, to step outside your comfort zone and make the world sit up and take notice.

Maybe you had to ask that beautiful woman on a date. Or quit your job in order to write full time. Perhaps you traveled to a foreign country by yourself or decided to go back to school.

Life is full of choices. We can take the easy path, following in the footsteps of the millions who have walked there before us. Or we can blaze a new trail, which may be scary and treacherous but is always innately worth it.

One of the most daring things I’ve done to date is fight in the ring. It took me years to get to that point, and while I can blame my coaches for abandoning me, the truth is, I just never felt ready. There was always a move I had yet to perfect, a bad habit I had to overcome. Finally, I stumbled upon the simple truth.

No one is ever ready.

If people waited to be completely ready to have children, it would never happen. Same with almost any major decision or life change, and such is the way with fighting.

So I swallowed my fear and did what I needed to do to get accepted into my dojo’s fight camp. I don’t think there was a single training session that didn’t terrify me–I was scared of getting hurt, scared of hurting others, of looking foolish, of failing. The list went on and on. I spent half of one boxing class crying in the bathroom because the pressure was just too much. But you know what? I survived.

And I had my fight, something that had been on my bucket list for too many years to count. I didn’t win, but in the end, that didn’t matter. By being daring and facing my fears in the ring, I became stronger at life.

Obviously you don’t need to kick box to be daring. Almost every day there is an opportunity to be brave, to venture out of that comfort zone and try something new.

My latest act of daring is submitting one of my novels to agents and publishers. While sending off some emails and letters doesn’t seem that bold on the surface, it is a huge step for me. It’s saying I’m willing to overcome my fears of rejection. That my desire to be a novelist is bigger than my fear of getting hurt. It’s a big thing for me to put myself up on the chopping block again, ready and willing to receive dozens of letters that begin with, “thank you for your submission but…”

But in the end, it’ll be worth it.

When was the last time you were daring? What would you really like to do or try if fear wasn’t holding you back?

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. If you’d like to see the list of participants, please click here.

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21 Comments

  1. Crystal Collier

    Hey! I blogged about a very similar topic. I’m totally about living your dreams, but that means taking risks, making messes, and failing. No success comes without at least one failure–like the kids learning how to walk, you just have to get back up and figure out how to NOT trip on the rug this time. =)

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Crystal,

      Welcome to my blog. I completely agree. What dream are you currently pursuing?

      Reply
    • Crystal Collier

      Oh you know, that writing career I always thought about but kept putting off. Book one came off the press less than 6 months ago, and whew! What a ride.

      Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      That’s awesome. You see? Fortune always favours the bold. 🙂

      Reply
  2. jessicatrianadeford

    Ha yes, completely agree with you and yes I play it safe far too much. Stepping out of my comfort zone, when I do it is very rewarding thought. Well done on biting the bullet and posting off your manuscript. 🙂

    The last time I used my daring was sharing my short story with my writing group the Inkslingers. It’s scary offering up your babies for critical evaluation. But ultimately the goal of being a better writer is worth stepping out my comfort zone and allowing my work to be criticised and pulled apart.

    Good topic. 🙂 x

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hello and welcome to my blog! Thanks for commenting. I completely agree–sharing your work with a critique group can be really scary! Every time I share my writing with a new group, I’m afraid they’re going to tell me to keep my day job.

      But that hasn’t happened to me yet, and I’m sure it hasn’t happened to you. Showing your work is an act of bravery that will prepare you for publishing. It’s awesome that you’re doing that!

      Reply
  3. Chrys Fey

    The only way to reach our dreams and to succeed is to push ourselves to those moments that scare us and fight through them.

    The last time I was daring . . . hmm. Well I gave my story to beta readers and I was so frightened of what they would say. Sending out query letters with sample chapters to big agents was also pretty daring for me.

    If fear wasn’t holding me back, I’d jump out of a plane. With a parachute, of course.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Well, I think you know what’s next on your list, Chrys. Kick that fear to the curb! You won’t die from being scared, but it will make you stronger.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  4. Elle

    Go on with your daring self! Once you have those packages in the mail, you might have a moment of “wait – give them back!” but you need to do it in order to get the letter that says “Thank you for your submission – we want your awesome book!” Go, Holli, go!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Elle. You are a constant source of inspiration for me. I’m usually pretty good once I have the packages in the mail–it’s getting them there in the first place that’s the tricky part.

      Reply
  5. tombensoncreative

    Am I missing something, or are these statements above not considered as ‘comments’?
    You’ve got a good thing going on here Holli, and I like the way you’ve taken a hold of your life. If you visit my blog or website, you’ll see I took control of my life many years ago when I joined the army at 17.
    To answer the question in your post. About 18 months ago, I stepped down from full-time retail management to three-days-a-week sales assistant. Why? So I could get on with my novel writing of course. Now on my third in two years.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Hi Tom,

      When I posted that remark on the IWSG board, I had zero comments. I think that’s why I’ve gotten some since.

      That’s great that you were able to be so successful with your change of careers. You seem very driven and focused.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  6. Rhonda Parrish

    “No one is ever ready”

    Ain’t that the truth! I ought to have that framed and hung on my wall where I can see it all the time LOL

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      It’s amazing how many things we put off because we’re not ready, when often the only way to get good at something is to just do it, ready or not.

      Reply
  7. Cecilia

    Daring? Hmmm probably too long ago but I did go out on a limb and quit my day job with no promise of income so I could write instead of just dream about it.

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Oooh, you’re going to like tomorrow’s post, Cecilia. A lot.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks so much, Aarthi! That’s very kind of you to say. I’m glad my post inspired you. I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  8. Tui Snider

    I’m not much of a physical risk-taker, but I’ve always liked to push myself emotionally. The first time I remember doing this I was about 11 years old and I realized I was really frightened of old people. So I forced myself to volunteer at a nursing home. I was so scared the first time, but I grew to love it!

    ~Tui Snider~
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

    Reply
  9. Tui Snider

    p.s. Currently, though, I’m scared to publish a memoir about the 5 years I spent living on a tiny island with a population of 7. Your post reminds me that I need to push through that fear… *bites nails* (And I’m not a nail biter, usually!)

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Pushing yourself emotionally totally counts, Tui. How cool that you volunteered at a nursing home to get over your fear! I’m sure it enriched both your life and the lives of the residents.

      I’m moving to an island next fall, and would love to hear about your experiences. I hope you do a post about them, but definitely get cracking on that memoir. I want to read it!

      Reply

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