Recently, while staying at a hotel in Orlando, I went down and sat in the hot tub around 9:00pm. Like most hotels in Orlando, this one was very kid-friendly, in other words, there were rug rats everywhere! They had a large swimming pool with a water slide, it wasn’t a very high slide, it only had 10 steps.

Kids would run up the steps, slide down squealing, then run back around as quickly as they could and go again. I love the pure joy that children exhibit from something as simple as a water slide. One little girl, about seven years old, got to the top of the steps the first time but stayed on the platform for several minutes letting the other kids go past her. It was obvious she wanted to go down, and she almost got on the slide twice, but was too afraid to go. One of her friends encouraged her a couple of times but when she refused, her friend went down then came back around to go again. The longer she stayed up there the harder it was for her to actually go down. Eventually, she slowly walked down the steps, head hung down and disappeared from my sight.

My heart hurt for this little girl because she allowed fear to steal her joy while others around her were having so much fun. What would you have said to her if you were her mom or dad, aunt or uncle? Would you have encouraged her or even squeezed your big behind onto the slide to show her it was safe and fun? I hope so.

Here’s a much more important question, what are you allowing to steal your joy? Is there a different position you want within your organization or maybe even a different career? Is there a man or woman that you would like to get to know better? Would you like to try something adventurous but allow fear to hold you back?

I have faced many fears in my personal life, from Bungee Jumping to Sky Diving to Zip Lining at nearly 100mph.

Not as much in my professional life, for years, I wanted to be a Professional Speaker but was afraid to try. Did I have anything to say that people would listen to? What if I stumbled over my words or said a humorous line and no one laughed? What if I…failed? Would my picture be posted all over the Internet with a big L on my forehead? Would I have to live in a cardboard box and eat leftover fast food? Probably not. I was allowing fear to steal my joy.

I had been studying for years but was never really focused and making it a reality, I guess it was fear holding me back. Finally, in late 2007 I got serious about getting the skills and knowledge I needed to become a full-time Professional Speaker. In 2010, I started earning part of my income as a Professional Speaker, by the end of the year I was able to go full time in the speaking industry.

Since that time, it has been an incredible ride. I met my amazing bride at a conference for speakers and  we are coming up on our 6th anniversary. I’ve had the opportunity to give over 800 professional presentations in 10 countries on 4 continents and visited nearly 20 countries as part of my travels. My biggest regret is that I waited so long to make the jump.

I’ll ask again, what are you allowing to steal your joy? More importantly what are you going to do to face that fear?

If there is anything I can do to help you get down the slide, even if it is giving you a little push, please let me know how I can be of service.