The Man in the Arena

ON SYNCHRONICITY, TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND GETTING YOUR ASS KICKED … Synchronicity. Love that word. I just looked it up. Its definition reads like a poem.

About the time “book vulnerability” crept into my consciousness, and about the time I felt a wee bit over-exposed, my friend Margaret (you know who you are) sent me a text with an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speech at the Sorbonne in 1915.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I Googled around for a while to gather more inspiration from this quote and found a Brené Brown talk about “showing up and being seen.” BTW, her comedic timing is pretty perfect. Her words reminded me why I have a visceral reaction to armchair quarterbacks, to those who sit “in the cheap seats” and pontificate about what others should do or should have done.

Brown says that there’s one guarantee if and when we make a brave step into that arena. “You’re going to get your ass kicked.” She goes on to say that if you’re not willing to go into the arena and get your ass kicked, she’s “not interested in your feedback.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. #brenébrown #motheringaddiction

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