So this week, I have done something I have never done before.

I put myself forward for something I have little or no chance of succeeding at.

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Yep – I know – doesn’t sound like much does it? But for me, it’s a really big deal.

You see, if you asked my Husband what my worst trait was, he might tell you that I am competitive to a fault and can be a really ugly loser. When we first met and were young and free and silly, he’d laugh at me for not wanting to do things like play pub drinking games. I’d justify it by arguing that it was much more enjoyable to sit round a table and chew the fat whilst supping on your cold pint, but the truth was, I hated the embarrassment of those games. Messing up and everyone looking at you? What could be worse…. And things like Charades? Urgh. I’d rather chew my own arm off.

If you asked me about sport, I’d tell you I enjoy running, swimming, netball, hockey, football – most team games in fact – but not Tennis or Squash or any of those other racket sports. The truth? I’m good at those first few and no good at the second lot – or more accurately I wasn’t very good at them when I first I tried them at 11 or 12 years of age, so I’ve barely dedicated a second’s further effort to seeing if I could improve or enjoy them since. It sounds pathetic, I know, and I’d like to say I have improved since becoming a grown-up and having children – losing ugly is NOT something you want to do in front of the children – but the truth is, it still comes hard to me sometimes.

And the problem is, it extends to stuff outside of sport and games too. This drive to be perfect, to be good at stuff, to not fail and mess it up. At school I was bright and did well. But I played it safe, sticking to subjects – and ultimately careers – that wouldn’t put me out there. That I knew I had a reasonably good chance of being good at, of not embarrassing myself at.

I guess that’s why – despite that fact that it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do – writing is something I have only just started to seriously have a go at. At 36 years of age! It’s why this blog is here.

Because if I stay scared all my life, I will never know what I might be able to be good at. And I might miss the best bits that are still out there for me to do and be. And if I’m not all that great at it after all? I’m learning that that doesn’t matter half as much as I thought it did. That my world is not going to stop turning if someone rejects me, or doesn’t like what I’ve written or said or done.

So – this is my brave thing this week, and I hope that it inspires YOU to be brave too:

This week, I entered a competition to win a place on a team travelling to Rwanda with Noonday Collection and International Justice Mission called Style For Justice. I entered because I love Africa and have always wanted to visit Rwanda. Because justice issues are and always have been really close to my heart and because the team consists of some of the most amazing women on the planet who are writing and blogging and designing and photographing and being brave and I admire them all immensely.

But mostly? Because winning the place means mobilising an army of online support – asking your twitter followers and facebook friends and the people who read your blog to vote for you every day for 10 days and retweet you and share your cause with their friends and followers. Seriously? I would rather die than ask that kind of thing of the people I know and love. Some people will find that strange and wonder why I find that hard, but for me, it is putting myself out there. Risking failure. Or rejection. And I don’t do that.

Only now I have. 

And it’s liberating. So whether I win this thing or not (and let’s face it, a baby-blogger from Cornwall can’t exactly be odds-on favourite) this is so definitely part of the journey. Opening up my heart and soul and risking. Dreaming – and not only dreaming but doing as well!

So – if you’ve ever felt too scared to try or too small to have a go, this one’s for you. It ain’t as scary as you think, and really? Whilst the worst could happen, so could the best. And that’s worth a shot in my book.

If you would like to support me in my quest to win a place on the Noonday Collection Style for Justice trip to Rwanda with International Justice Mission, click this link and scroll right to the bottom and VOTE. You can vote once a day, every day, on each and every device that you own until May 23rd  – if you have that much time and energy. And if you wanted to share on your facebook, blog, twitter etc – please do so! I would love that!

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