We were in the Florida Keys, out too far on a boat too small. We got out to try some snorkeling, but moments later my friend began yelling in pain. He'd just been stung by a jellyfish.
When the heroic moment comes, we all hope to embrace it and do the bravest thing possible. We believe that given the opportunity, our inner super-hero would spring into action and save the day.
My moment came, and I failed.
As my friend struggled to swim back to the boat, I hurriedly got in myself. I offered no help to my friend for fear that I'd be stung, and I regret my reaction to this day.
Perhaps it's because I wasn't practicing. I should have been practicing non-hesitation. Every time someone dropped something, I should have trained my reaction to pick it up. Whenever I heard someone struggling to reach the top shelf in the grocery store, I should have jumped in and assisted.
You can't practice for when your friend is stung by a jellyfish, but you can practice immediate kindness. Let your reaction be to help, and not ignore or run away from an opportunity to make a difference.