Keep your hands up!

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I just finished reading a book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, titled, “Lean In” and it mostly dealt with the experiences she had while moving up the corporate ladder.  She shared a lot of statistics and business ventures, with some personal “mis-steps” that had come to her along the way.  But one of the phrases she used was “Keep your hands up!” and I knew I would have to use it in a post.  How many times are we told what the rules are and never question them?  Not because they necessarily should be changed, but just so that we understand them better?  Maybe some of them should be changed, but if we don’t ask questions, we will never know the answers.  Have we sat in the corner, hoping no one notices us?  How many of you raised your hands when we were in school because the teacher asked a question and you knew the answer?  Why did you raise your hand?  Because you knew the answer!  So what changed between then and now? If you really want to stun us, raise your hand with THAT answer!!! When did we become shy about speaking up for ourselves?  When we started caring more about what others would think of us.  We want to be liked, respected, and share our lives with others.  VERY few of us prefer to be alone.  But how many of you were in a situation when you knew the answer or knew how to fix a problem and said and did nothing?  Ok, maybe if it wasn’t you, I bet you can think of someone who did this…because they told you after the fact.  Recently, I read another book about vulnerability and notice more about the walls that others put up to keep safe.  But, what if by you just taking that chance — whether it turns out good or bad — inspires someone else to take notice, not the outcome, but of the attempt?  Then, would you take a risk?  Sometimes, I think my husband is not paying attention to what I am doing, but every once in a while, he brings up something to me that I tell everyone else…I hate when my words come back to bite me.  Over this past weekend, those words stung too — at about 200 mph.  But, after it was over, a woman walked over to me and told me that regardless of what I looked like, with dirt all over me, sore from taking cover behind trees, and paint remnants on me, she told me that I looked, “blissful”.  Seriously…blissful?  But later on that night, she told me that the next time, she and the other women want to do it too.  They saw how much fun I had and I am sure that because I came out without serious injury helped as well.  But isn’t what life is about?  Raising the bar and challenging ourselves to do things we never wrote on a bucket list?  Saying those most difficult words that eat at you because they have not been shared?  Giving yourself permission to want to be more? To be different?  To change and grow?  What would happen if you were told that your life depended on you raising your hand?  Would you do it?  Or would you cower in the corner, regretting not having the courage to do ANYTHING?  Sure, plenty of people will never take that chance.  They will never yell, “Geranimo!” and get in there for the fight.  Be persistent.  Persevere through adversity because you won’t give up.  And, if one arm gets tired of being raised, put it down, as you slowly raise the other one.  Keep your hands up!  It is absolutely amazing what you can do … “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey

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