WITHOUT COURAGE, YOU'RE STUCK IN A WISH
Pursuing your heart’s desire requires confidence, something
I once lacked to the bone. I was terrified to stand before a crowd and speak. Being handed a microphone was like being handed a reptile. If I was on a lonely road, I was sure a tire would blow out on a deserted stretch of highway in the path of a tornado—or more likely, tornadoes. As a native Texas cowgirl, riding a horse was a fear I kept secret.
The key to success, I’ve learned, is perseverance and courage. My advice to anyone actively trying to accomplish a goal is to climb right over the obstacles, especially words of discouragement. Your path may be bumpy, but whatever happens, a sense of self-worth comes in the trying. Nothing happens if you don’t try, so why not?
In the words of Henry Ford: “Obstacles are those most frightful things you see when you take your eyes of your goal.” One of his first obstacles was a banker who declined to give him a loan because “the automobile will never replace the horse.”
Once upon a time, I was mired in a misery of wishes. It was
a prayer that pulled me up and out. On my knees, hands folded, I asked:
To be a fearless traveler with a mission. To wake up every day with eagerness and joy. To have adventures. To take care of myself and my children financially. To have plenty of time, talent and money to give away. And, mostly, to have something meaningful to say and do—to be a vessel of service— so that at the end of my days, I could say, “Way to go, Dianna. You did good.” Amen. (P.S. Please make it fun).
That is exactly what happened. By practicing courage, my fears evaporated one by one. Adventure swept in. Since then, I’ve skydived many times. I've joined a crew of hot air balloonists. I’ve driven throughout the U.S. and Mexico, usually alone.
I lived on a mountaintop in a remote village, bunked for months on a sailboat (The Maiden America), ridden on the back of a motorcycle through two countries (and accidentally ended up behind the Federales in La Carrera, the “Mexican Road Race”). I led a project to form a huge human peace symbol on the beach in Port Aransas, TX. It is now an Earth Day tradition led by others. I rode a huge horse through a Mexican plaza. And only once, in the middle of Tall Grass Prairie in Pawhuska, OK, was I trapped in the path of a tornado. A really, really big one. Really big.
I’m grateful to God beyond measure that he answered my prayer with these experiences – all of which required courage. With this newfound courage came the confidence to venture into the unexplored world of business. I established a foundation called The Oz Project. Its mission was to inspire young people to pursue their dreams and provide them with the means to do so.
Most recently—by means of a hand-painted car named The Maiden America II—I’ve been honored to collect the dreams, prayers, and messages of people from many nations. It is a project of goodwill and a book-in-the-making, READ MY CAR. When a hand-painted glass jug is filled with dreams,
I ask a seafarer to cast it into deep waters. Today, about 15 bottles are floating in oceans and seas, or resting on sand. (Glass is made of organic materials).
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CHEERLEADERS
It takes courage to build confidence. It takes confidence to dream big. And it takes continual practice to maintain the courage you need to achieve your goals. If there’s something you want to do but are afraid to do, do it anyway—and if you have the means, do it now. It’s perfectly okay to be scared. Empty your Bucket List!
This is your one and only life. Let your passion guide you to achievement and joy. Ask your family and friends – and even strangers – to help you. They want to help you succeed. Just ask!
It is said, “We’re all in this together.” We are. It’s called teamwork.
I welcome private or public occasions to share these stories.
~ Some Memories I Treasure ~
Dianna Hutts Aston is the author of 15 award-winning books for children. She is also a native Texan, a former reporter for U.S. News & World Report; an editorial writer at The Houston Post; and editor of The Hays County Free Press. Her publishing career spans more than 20 years, but she is most proud of being an accomplished driver since the age of 11 (or 43 years). Her favorite road is Route 66, the Main Street of America, “The Mother Road.”