When I talk about improv, people often say “I could never do that.” If I had a nickel for every time I said that to myself, I would be rich. While I have not become financially rich for saying “I could never do that”, my life has been enriched by the times I thought I couldn’t do something and challenged myself to do it. In fact, some of the best things in my life have come from things I thought I could not do.
Every time I took the calculated risk to try something that I thought I could not do, at the very least, I took away a pride in the attempt and enjoyed the experience of doing something different. A great example was a Rock ‘n Ropes course in Taupo, New Zealand. The culmination of the course was climbing a telephone pole and making a leap for a trapeze bar. Even though I was harnessed to a safety wire, my heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest as I climbed the pole. At the top, I held my balance and took the leap for the trapeze bar. I didn’t even come close to reaching the bar and was gently lowered to the ground, but I was very proud of the leap of faith. I still have the t-shirt to remind me of that leap and to take others.
Years later, I did do another ropes course at Triangle Training as an incoming MBA student at Fuqua. With my fear of heights, I once again stretched myself to get on the high ropes as part of a team exercise. During the exercise debrief, my partner on the wire shared our experience and credited me for being willing to do something in spite of the fear I felt.
Even today, I still need to overcome my fears. As I write this blog, I am getting ready to take the biggest leap of faith faced to date as I work to become a full time entrepreneur and devote more time to growing Impactful Improv.
A few things help me to continue to take the figurative leaps of faith:
- Encouragement: While I own my choices and decisions, I surround myself with individuals who encourage me to follow my dreams lifting my confidence when fear creeps in.
- Experience: I have either achieved success or great positive lessons every time I have done what I thought was impossible.
- Example: More than once, I have been told that stretching myself has inspired others to do the same.
Often when I fear something, I ask myself “what is the worst thing that can happen?” On very rare occasions, the outcome is not worth the experience and I pass. More often I found that the worst thing that can happen is that I grow as a person and gain a greater perspective.