Where Our Confidence Lies

Last weekend, we took a family trip to the Grand Canyon. It’s a breathtaking sight. Peering over the edge makes my heart race at the canyon’s enormous depth.

The day was hot, and we decided to sit under a tree at a lookout point to gaze at the landscape. This tree jutted out from the red dirt, and several branches hung gracefully over the canyon. A pine cone fell from one limb, bouncing and tumbling down until I lost sight of it.

I watched as a large black bird landed on a sturdy branch near the trunk of the tree. Then the bird started to walk. Away from the trunk. Closer and closer to the canyon. Farther and farther the bird inched sideways until it was perched over the canyon. The branch dipped and swayed with the bird’s weight.

I held my breath. What was this bird doing? I thought, feeling a little annoyed with its recklessness. The bird’s beady eyes had a mischievous glint, as if it sensed my fear and took another step just to taunt me. The bending branch made a cracking sound. 

“Look at this risk-taking bird,” I commented to the girls. “If it takes one more step, the branch is going to snap. Look at how far it will fall.” 

“No, mom,” Ella replied. “If the branch breaks, that’s when the bird will fly.”

How very true. When we believe in ourselves and know we can fly, what happens to the branch doesn’t matter much at all.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.