The young deer gathered his courage and sprang forward. Just when he should have made the leap and sailed over the fence, fear kicked on the brakes and he stumbled and skidded into the wire mesh. It wasn’t a tall fence, only four feet, not much of an obstacle for a mule deer. In fact, he had already cleared it once when he jumped into the yard with the rest of his herd. Now the herd was gone, off across the field toward the mountain, and this lone deer was trapped in my yard by his lack of confidence.
I watched for a while as he trotted up and down the fence line. Every now and then he would gather enough courage to attempt the leap once more. Every time, doubt tripped him up and he slammed into the fence. It had to hurt, yet he did it over and over.
In what was, no doubt, a misguided attempt to be helpful, I snuck outside and opened the gate. I had hoped he would find his way out and be free, but the gate was near the house and he had no intention of going in that direction. He was stuck, stubbornly flinging himself at the fence.
When I could stand it no longer—he was bound to hurt himself—I decided to try and herd him toward the gate. While he was focused on the east fence, I crept down the west side in an effort to get behind him. He saw me before I even got close. In a burst of panic, he bounded over the fence and across the field.
He had the ability to leap that fence the whole time. Doubt and fear held him on the ground and trapped him in a prison of his own making.
I have thought often of that deer. I am much like him. Most of us are at one time or another in our lives. Fences appear, blocking our way, and we find we lack the courage and faith to move past them and grow. Fear stunts our potential and we struggle to thrive within corrals that we create until our fear of staying put outweighs our lack of faith.
All we really need to do is believe and we can soar. The potential is within us. We have only to set it free.
So, whatever fences stand in your way, gather your courage, choose to believe and take the leap.