A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Rome, Italy. Although I was only staying in the city for a day, I wanted to ensure I did as much as possible to create a memorable experience. I decided to book a night time tour of the Colosseum.
When I approached the arena, I couldn’t help but stand in awe of this massive structure. In my mind, I began thinking of all the Gladiators who once stepped foot on those hollow grounds. I wondered what level of skill, training, preparation, and heart it must have taken to walk into that arena as a gladiator and leave as a champion.
Real gladiators know that pride for yourself doesn't come from merely stepping into the arena. They understand that you must see the battle through to the end. To be a fierce competitor, you must be willing to give it your all, go the distance and find a way to win.
Your life requires your full commitment, passion and a willingness to leave it all on the arena floor. Fighting fiercely doesn't mean that you will win every battle, but it does say you dared significantly to give it your all. To stand as a gladiator, you must exemplify great heart.
Your heart is a muscle, and over the course of your lifetime, it will perform more physical work than any other muscle in your body. It has been designed to be tested, stretched and pushed to the limit. You can teach technique, but you can’t teach heart.
There are two seats in the arena. You can either sit as a critic, watching the gladiators all while thinking of all the ways you could do it better. Or you can go boldly onto the floor of competition where bravery and will are put to the test.
Spectators receive no battle wounds as they sit in the cheap seats of life. It’s the gladiators who have the guts to take chances, embrace uncertainty, and attempt to do the impossible all while others pay to watch.
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says, "Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don't exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be, a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, with courage and a willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen."
Although the last gladiatorial fight occurred in Rome in 404 A.D., you have the opportunity to walk into the arena of your life and come out victorious today. Stop playing small for others and commit to showing up for yourself daily. The world needs more dreamers, believers, and doers. The world needs you.
The journey BEYOND begins the moment we remove all fear and doubt and step into the arena of our lives. There is no reward for the spectator sitting in the stands. The trophies are awarded to the ones who stand on the floor at the end of the game, bloodied and bruised, sweaty and teary-eyed, serenaded with applause. The champion holds all the receipts for bravery and courage well spent. Come out of the stands and step into the arena of your life. Your greatness awaits.