My parents gave me a wonderful gift – the confidence that I could not only use my wings to fly but also to stretch them once in awhile and do something that was beyond my comfort zone. Sometimes these are known as ‘stretch goals’. This time of year, I am reminded of the baby chick who is perfectly comfortable, warm and secure inside its egg, oblivious to a much bigger world around it. It doesn’t ‘know’ that if it refuses to hatch and stay inside that egg, it will die. It needs to stretch its wings, breath air, feel sunshine and eat. The very thing that is making it feel secure will be its coffin.
And then the little chick gets an urge to use its special, once in a lifetime gift, its ‘egg tooth’. This little tooth allows the baby chick to break free – not all at once, but a little bit at a time. It is also able to start communicating with other chicks by chirping while still in the egg. The Creator knew that to break free all at once, for the little chick, it would be far too frightening so He allows it to take a small step (or peck), and then rest and slowly see its new surroundings. It then can use its wings to not only flee from danger but also to soar to new heights and gain new perspective from a different vantage point.
Zig Ziglar wrote “Hope is the power that gives a person the confidence to step out and try”.
My parents gave me this hope along with my faith!
Later in my career in healthcare, I was encouraged to spread my wings and start public speaking on areas of expertise. I was not trained in public speaking but I did have a desire to help my fellow colleagues and had a heart to share with them how certain projects had worked for me. I first pecked a small hole in my shell and spoke at state and regional meetings and then I stretched my wings even further, with the encouragement of friends and colleagues, and started speaking at national meetings. I wrote a article called “An Unlikely Journey” that was published by a trade magazine that I’d be happy to share with anyone who wishes to read it. It tells of my public speaking journey to encourage others who are wanting to take that next step!
A few years ago, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I had stories to tell and pictures to share but I didn’t have an academic background in journalism or a degree in literature! Many of those that I meet at writer’s conferences have MFA’s (Masters of Fine Arts). I took a deep breath, stretched my wings a little further, and sent out an article to a magazine. They liked it.
I kept a secret from most people that I had started writing chapters for a children’s nature book. I would write about experiences I had at the cabin, on the lake, on walks and about the animals I found along the way. I had wanted a children’s nature to book to share with my grandchildren so they could get a sense of awe and wonder at nature and find a peace there as I had. I also wanted them to respect and love the interesting and unique animals that God had given to us in the North Woods. I could not find such a book so I wrote it! It wasn’t the most interesting book with just wildlife photos I had taken and fact boxes about the animals so I wove in a story about a grandmother who takes her four precious grandchildren on walks with her and shows them the animals.
As with the egg tooth, I found I was equipped with a heart to write this book and dear family and friends who would edit it for me (and a few donated pictures!). I then knew I needed to either find a publisher or publish the book myself (called indie publishing). I had signed up for the AWP national writers conference where publishers also were there as vendors. After doing my research on several publishers, I found 6-8 that I was hoping to talk to and see if they were interested in this type of book AND see if I felt like I could partner with them. I not only found a publisher (Grey Wolfe Publishing, LLC) I could be comfortable with but they truly wanted my book (even after a brief review of it!). The book, A Cabin by the Lake, is due out the end of Summer!!!
There were many people along the way that encouraged me to stretch my wings and also provided assistance in many ways letting me know I was on the right track. Perhaps, you are contemplating something ‘new’ in your life, a stretch out of your comfort zone. My advice – you’ll never know it if is the right path to take until you start pecking little holes in your safe shell and see what is beyond!