Investing in Loss—Hopscotch, Risk, and Success
In Shao-Lin Kung Fu, we call taking risks “investing in loss,” meaning we are willing to possibly experience a loss, a failure, in order to try something new or step out of our comfort zone in order to improve and gain success.
Right or Wrong, I am OK
As I’ve grown and overcome many diverse challenges, I’ve come to trust my own thoughts and opinions more, as well as better handle being wrong or receiving criticism.
Last year, my self-awareness rose to a level where I started noticing how gripped with fear I was in many situations throughout the day. When the phone rang, no matter who was calling, I would immediately be afraid I had done something wrong. When my former roommate had people over, I was stuck, frozen in my room. (It reminded me of my old social anxiety days from my early twenties! Where did that resurface from?!)
As I was looking forward to the next stage of my life, I realized this self-doubting, stifling, “must-hide” energy was going to be a massive hindrance, so I decided to do something about it. I decided it was time to really be okay with me, whether I was right or wrong, gorgeous or having a bad hair day, happy or sad.
Once I made this decision, opportunities started popping up for me to give myself a new experience of empowerment.
The Hopscotch Challenge
I went to a movie alone (I LOVE going to movies in the middle of the day when everyone else is working!), and when it was over, there was this giant hopscotch poster/sticker right there on the ground in front of me. When I saw it, my heart gripped with fear because I knew I had to do it, but I really, really, REALLY didn’t want to.
How could I make a decision to be okay being me, then shy away from the blatant opportunity to hop out of my comfort zone and prove it?
I understood the terror barrier principle that when you give in to fear, it makes you weaker, but if you just breakthrough it, you come out stronger and the next goal you want to achieve will be that much easier, because you haven’t trained yourself to give in to challenges!
My heart was pounding out of my chest at the thought of looking stupid, doing something out of the ordinary right there in the upscale movie theater entrance.
I didn’t do it.
I walked past it with tears in my eyes and a sick knot in the pit of my stomach, knowing I had just done myself a huge disservice.
If I can’t do something so trivial, how the hell am I going to do anything truly substantial?
I quickly made my way through the courtyard and across the street past a grassy area, and to my horror, and simultaneous relief, there was another hopscotch diagram!
There was no way I was going to let fear control me a second time!
Although it still took me ten minutes to work up the courage, I knew I was not going to walk away this time. I slowly removed my 3-inch sandals, rolled up my jeans, and stood at the edge of the rest of my life.
Those nine squares started a tidal wave. It was still a few months before the next phase of loving myself and presenting my best, yet as-is, self became an even more integral part of me.
Success on the Waves of Fear
In a bout of depression a couple of months ago, I chronicled via video my progression from a low place back to my normal self over the course of a few hours and shared it with you. I had several people tell me how meaningful that post was to them, which was I hoped—to be able to make a difference for someone else.
I arrived at a New Year’s Eve dance a little early when everyone was still off to the side chatting, but I was there to dance, so I broke in the dance floor. Alone. For FIVE songs. No grand meaning there, but it was another significant tick in the “I love me” file.
I have now opened up about the domestic violence and sexual abuse and manipulation I went through in a former marriage, and within a week and a half of doing so, I began heading a local fundraiser to benefit TESSA, our DVSA shelter. A week after that I was interviewed on our local news, ABC affiliate, as well as the Catholic news agency out of Denver.
A few weeks ago (actually four days after I published the most private blog post I have ever shared, mentioned above), the son I gave up for adoption 22 years ago when I was just fifteen came into my life. Long story short, through a series of feelings and events, I reached out to him around the holidays last year. Was I terrified he’d want nothing to do with me? Absolutely, and I had to be completely okay with that possibility, but I also knew it was time to at least let him know I was here and the option to know me was available to him if he wanted it.
About a month after I sent him a letter, he responded! We’ve been having a wonderful time getting to know each other! One of the funny highlights was when he told me he was obsessed with all things ninja, and his friends had seen my kung fu photos on Facebook and he said, “My friends are now joking about us… ‘The ninja gene, it does exist!'”
My son, the only child I’ve ever been pregnant with and birthed, whom I gave to a family more capable than me at the time, is now in my life. You can’t put a price on that, and it may never have been if I hadn’t been willing to “invest in loss.”
The Cure for the Despair of Failure!
It feels so good to go out of my comfort zone, do new and unique things, and have such joyful successes cure any and all despair over past and present failures!
Any failures and pain we experience by taking risks that don’t work out the way we hoped pale in comparison to the joys of success!
The only caveat is we don’t get to the successes if we aren’t willing to take the failures.
All of my life experiences have led me here, but the hopscotch grid turned the corner and started the breakthrough. Had I not made a conscious commitment to make choices that give me the experience of being happy with who I am, even if I make a mistake, I would not be able to rise as a resource and voice for victims, and I wouldn’t be enjoying getting to know my one and only child.
What are you working on that is scary and exhilarating? Please share in the comments, then head over to my Inner Circle group coaching program to see how you can have a major breakthrough with your goal in less than two months!
Learn more and register at TanishaMartin.com/innercircle.