Amelia Mary Earhart was born July 24, 1897. In her short life, she was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set many other records. She wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences. And she was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety Nines, an organization of female pilots. After disappearing on July 2, 1937, she was declared dead on January 5, 1939.
As if all that weren’t notable enough, there’s this quote of hers:
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
The word I use for this is “agency” – not only knowing I can choose but actually doing the choosing itself, acting on the decision, taking action.
We have agency. But oh, how tempting to believe otherwise.
I’m a perfect case study.
I love to deliberate, to consider all the options, to weigh every pro and con, to journal, to reflect, to be curious, to wonder if I have enough data or resources or wisdom, and to then take every bit of all that pondering (and all that it subsequently invites) as permission to keep my head in the clouds instead of landing the damn plane.
But as long as I circle, as long as I allow myself to stay in deliberation, I don’t take action.
And why would I choose such a thing?
(I’ll keep speaking for myself, but I’m guessing you can relate.)
I fear that if I not only listen to, but actually trust and act on the wisdom that is mine (not all the perseverating, but the deeper know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within) there will be an onslaught of risks, costs, and consequences that will show up and undoubtedly subsume me. Disaster will befall. Relationships will crumble. The world will come to an end.
Yep. That sounds about right for starters.
Of course there will be risks and costs and consequences to actually trusting and acting on my wisdom! That is always the way of it! It inevitably leads me into brand new territory, change, and transformation. (Which means that people, systems, and institutions around me will have to change, too. Yikes: more risks and costs and consequences!)
What if the awareness of risks and costs and consequences was the very thing that compelled our actions – instead of stopping them?
The best case study?
Back to Amelia Earhart. I’m thinking she was pretty clear on the risks and that those were the very things that kept her going instead of holding her back; that compelled her instead of stopped her.
So, bottom line?
Amelia Earhart invites you (and me) to choose – and then act on that choice; to decide – and then act on that decision; to acknowledge and USE the agency that’s yours.
Amelia Earhart invites you (and me) to land the damn plane. Or maybe start flying it in the first place! To push the boundaries, the limits, any and every restraint that’s kept you grounded. Say what you feel, what you mean, what you know. Trust your voice (and your wisdom), your creativity, your value, your worth. Be completely, fully, authentically you – all the time.
May it be so.