A few days ago, author Elizabeth Gilbert (The Signature of All Things) presented an engaging challenge to her readers: I want you to post a picture of yourself taken at a moment when you felt like you were at your most powerful.

She posted one of herself, a candid moment, which she admitted, “It’s not me at my prettiest, and definitely not me at my most glamorous. I hadn’t washed my hair for a few days, and I was wearing my rattiest old tank top.” But she added, “When I look at this picture, I see a woman who is doing exactly what she wants to be doing with her life.”

Looking at the number of photos posted that day, it was clear that we all have a story to tell about what it means to feel powerful–myself included.

For me, surfing is the purest joy I have ever known. Working to catch a wave and having it agree to take you along is a perfect moment of power, yours, the wave’s and all the elements that went into bringing that wave across the distance to meet you in this one particular spot, at this one particular time. When the wave is big, the fear is too. When you succeed in making the drop and find yourself screaming down the face, your heart racing, you are screaming inside as well: Yes! Yes! And yes again! Pure power.

These days, injury keeps me from being where I long to be, but I look for that same feeling in other ventures. Right now the big wave is getting ready to pitch a manuscript to agents. The fear is big. I mean really big, like, OH MY GOD I MIGHT GET CRUSHED BIG. The wave is coming, it’s building, and I have decided to paddle in. The drop is waiting, and as my arms dig deep into building power below me. I am hoping that I will be screaming Yes! Yes! And yes, again!