“What do you fear my Lady?
A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valour has gone beyond recall or desire.”
It is difficult to describe how this quote makes me feel. It gives meaning to my own fears of failure while igniting a strength to see my desires come to pass.
I love the story of Eowyn in J.R.R Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings. If you’re a modern girl and still haven’t gotten around to seeing Lord of the Rings or think it couldn’t possibly be your cup of tea; I’ll briefly share her powerful story.
She is a Lady in the House of her uncle the King- Théoden and there is war. There are invaders from the north and an impending battle in the south. The King believes it is her place to stay behind, hold down the fort, take care of her people. And this, I admit, is an admirable role.
But her desire is to fight. To stand among honourable men and fight for her freedom and for her people.
Her King and his people flee to Helm’s Deep: their fortress in troubled times. She takes her place hiding in the caves with women and children comforting them as the King and his knights fight against the forces of Saruman. As dawn rises, with few men left, they take their final stand. Gandalf, another hero in the plot, arrives in time with allied forces and defeat the army of Saruman. They are victorious.
But her story does not end there. Despite their victory at Helm’s Deep, the war continued to rage further south.
Again, she is requested to stay behind. This time she refuses.
She wears the armour of a man, rides among the soldiers and fights against the forces of Sauron.
During the epic final battle she strikes the Witch-King with one blow and destroys him forever, proving her worth and making her mark in the world.
She no longer needs to fear a cage, for her actions bring her the renown she was seeking.
Her story, fictional as it may be, inspires me.
Because success is never just handed to you. You have to fight for it.
I have taken a page out of her book and will share with you four points that will inspire you to keep the faith.
1. Pick your battles.
Often knowing the difference between when to fight and when to concede a battle will be the difference between burning out or having the staying power. Ask yourself, “In the big scheme of things does this really matter?” or “Is this an area that I can compromise?”.
2. Goals, Dreams and Responsibility – They can go hand in hand.
Part of growing up means taking on more responsibility and often it means putting others first. As a mum this is so true. Putting others before your dreams is an admirable trait and often a necessity. Give yourself permission to put your dreams on hold, but never let them go. Sometimes there will be room for them, and at other times cleaning, taking care of a loved one or simply working to pay the bills will be your priority.
3. When challenges arise be prepared for the fight.
I’m not talking about taking up a literal sword and bringing down the workplace bully under the knifes edge. Success is neither easy nor made overnight. It takes guts and determination. There will be a time when your resolve is tested and at that time my advice is two fold. One; keep your eye on the prize and let your vision of the future inspire you. And two; Seek a companion, for a burden shared is a burden halved.
4. Don’t let others determine who you are.
You are made unique and have something to offer the world that no one else does. We are not defined by what people say about us or even what we think about ourselves. It is our actions that speak the loudest about who we truly are. Nurture what makes you – you. And incorporate your individuality into changing the world.