step 2: keep going


"Keep working... pain is your friend," he says as I conjure up every ounce of strength to hold my forearm plank pose a little bit longer.

"Pain equals change," he continues as sweat drips from my brow onto the floor.

"I can do this," I think to myself. But my waist begins to give way to gravity and my knees follow suit.

"You got this... keep working," he says again.

I release an intense moan as I pull myself back into position. My muscles ache and body shakes as each second passes at the speed of an hour glass.

"5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1, and time!"

Phew, I made it. I didn't give up. And I can tell that I'm a little bit stronger than I was last week.

I used to fear both pain and failure in a very similar way. I had a clear line drawn between what I knew that I could handle and what I considered risky. And I was not going to cross it.

Over the past few years, I've had to deal with both pain and failure, some self-inflicted and some out of my control. What I have learned is that when I embrace them both, when I allow myself to experience them fully - free from numbing agents and denial, I can make it. I can thank God that I didn't give up. And I can tell that I'm a little bit stronger than I was last week, last month, or last year.

So I welcome all of life, both its blessings and its lessons. 

On a recent trip to Guatemala, I found myself in a new situation, playing a new role, and working with new people who spoke a different language. It was a successful trip and I was glad to have met the challenge of this new experience.

As irony would have it, on the shuttle ride to the airport every billboard was written in Spanish, except for one. It read these words:

Be ready to grow