By Ashley Smith: A second chance is a leap. A courageous leap.

When I saw the date on my calendar today, I first looked at the meetings, appointments, and my to do list... and it hit me, February 29th only comes around every 4 years.

Usually, I would listen to the loud voice of the task master and seek perfectionism over dreaming and creating. I would rationalize that I can be brave another day, like on a weekend. I would tell myself that I have emails to finish and a list to check off and a quota to accomplish. Up until now, I would have been held prisoner by my people pleasing.

That's when I heard it- the small, soft whisper of the creative voice emerging inside of me.

Not today.

Today I am not going to fall into the trap of chasing perfection.

Today, I am taking the leap. I am going to choose to be brave and to be me. To be imperfect and messy and unique. Today, I am going to set aside the loud voice of my inner critic and let the soft whisper of grace lead me.

Today, I am going to listen with empathy. I will be present and connect with human beings over checking my email every 10 seconds or being ruled by my iPhone.

I will act with courage. I will live outside of my comfort zone today. I will be brave with my story and my imperfections.

I will push through my fear with tenacity. I will persevere when it gets difficult, even when I am tempted to go back to what is familiar. There is nothing that I cannot handle today.

I will live with clear purpose. I will embrace that my life is significant and impacts the world for good. I will choose to be confident and secure and know that I matter.

I will hold tightly on to hope. That healing is happening and I will be stronger because of my journey through failure and deep pain. That it will get better. I do not have to fear impending doom. Hope is stronger.

Today, on leap year, I am going to live my life in the context of grace, not shame.

I am going to be free to embrace the beauty of second chances.

Today, I am leaping into who I really am. Today, I am risking the courageous leap and embracing my second chance. Who wants to leap with me?

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