By Dipping In One Toe

Gel Pen on Pastel Paper – Words: Arthur Clark

What are your goals? We are often asked this question and may be found floundering to come up with an answer. What are your strengths? This question can also flummox us if we have not tested things to find out where we excel and where we want to work to improve. The only way to truly understand goals and strengths is to test our limits.

I ran high school track and never really enjoyed the long distance practices. How do I know that? I had to run for a couple hours after school at least two days a week…I hated those two days. I understood why I was doing it and I also knew that when it was no longer required I would no longer run long distances. I had reached my limits. I haven’t run much since then. I do lots of other athletic things, just no running.

I have a friend who has tried every craft known to man. She loves learning new things and has figured out which ones she likes and which ones are not for her. She spent time beyond her limits and learned herself, her interests and skills better. She then donated the supplies for the things she doesn’t want to do. Smart lady.

I like trying and failing. I have a piece on my studio table right now that is testing me and I think it has won. It will go into a drawer and hide out for a while until my skills, imagination and inspiration join forces to go beyond that limit…not sure how long that will take…but I will try again. Until then, I will start over with a new perspective and go all out to make this version work.

We say we embrace failure, but do we really embrace it? Do we give things all we have knowing that failure could be eminent? Or do we stay in our safety zone with a hint of risk, only enough to remind us of our self imposed limitations? Once we hit those invisible walls do we veer another direction to avoid a complete meltdown or keep going until we go beyond our comfort zone? Let today be the day we go beyond what we know, face the unfamiliar and test the waters. Not just by dipping a toe in, make it a HUGE jump and go for it…the only way to really know how the water feels is to jump all the way. Otherwise you only get part of the experience, and no one learns much about themselves, their goals, and their strengths by dipping in one toe.

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