Challenge and Confidence

This morning I took the train from the Sydney Airport to Milson’s Point (Sydney north shore). Now city dwellers will be thinking, “So?” But for me that is a biggie. I would say that in many respects, I would always have appeared confident and in a lot of ways I was. But the prospect of taking a train across Sydney, even the last time I came here several weeks back, was so daunting that I took a cab.

Thus, today I had an immense sense of achievement by training it to my destination. Like everything that has challenged me recently, I broke it down into baby steps and celebrated at each step – found the platform, on the right train, off the first train, on the next right train and off again at the correct station.

There are a number of reasons why, without my health, this type of exercise was challenging. Physically stairs were a challenge. I could exhaust myself with minimal effort on stairs! When I was very large, I had a number of falls. The humiliation of falling in public is more painful than the physical effects though, I must say, I have managed some very impressive bruises; fortunately no breaks! It is much easier to stay within your comfort zone when you are feeling miserable and looking back, I believe that the most significant factor lies in the fact that I did not ever take responsibility for where I was. This meant that it was significantly preferable for someone else to take responsibility for everything, even down to getting me from one side of Sydney to the other.

There have been in my life a number of light bulb moments when it came to confidence and realising that I could do things. When our children were around 5 and 7, I took them from Saudi Arabia to Florida for a holiday without G. I can’t remember the why’s anymore. I have no idea why he didn’t come with us. What I do remember is that when I left Saudi, Gus had made all of the arrangements, booked us into the Hilton, worked out that there were shuttle buses to get to theme parks and organised tours to Cape Canaveral and anywhere else we could want to go.

I was chatting to an older couple on the bus to the hotel and they made mention of the fact that the Hilton was very expensive and that we would be very restricted as far as time goes if we were to rely on the public transport options. Well after one night, I had moved out of the Hilton and in to an alternative at 1/3 of the price (the only thoughts I had were that the Hilton had an ice machine and that the towels at the Hilton were fluffier!).  I then hired a car and proceeded to drive L & S and I to anywhere that we wanted to go. I didn’t get to do the ultimate in proving myself because of the cost of changing flights (it was going to be $US 1500.00). The newer confident me had wanted to stop in New York and take L & S to the top of the Empire State Building. That’s still on the ‘to do’ list! I just remember though that I held my head a little higher when I returned from that holiday because I had proved myself to me.

That’s what the train did today. I don’t believe that I can under-estimate the importance of proving myself to me in my journey towards accepting awesome. I actually now believe that challenging myself needs to become a way of life. Clearly, if I get a sense of satisfaction out of train travel, then I don’t have to look to the highest mountain or the longest marathon; I just have to recognise that challenges allow growth and that both can be achieved in baby steps.

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