The rewards lie just beyond the fear


For the record, throwing yourself out there does not get easier. Because while you get more practiced at doing it, the hurling is still effortful and terrifying and completely unnatural in feeling.

On the other hand, not throwing yourself out there gets easier and easier each time you don't do it. Or do do it. You know what I mean. (You will also note that I said "do-do.")

Notice that neither one of these gets a qualifier of "better" or "worse." They just are what they are: choice "a", or choice "b".

When it gets hard to make the call, try considering this:

You can do the thing that terrifies you and watch your world get a little bit bigger. Or you can do what you have done before and have your world shrink imperceptibly. As in, you will not notice it, whatever the size.

There are still no rewards for the former but the former. There are no consequences to the latter but the latter.

On Thursday night, I will get up in front of 800 or so strangers, and the few of you I do know are pretty strange, too, now I think of it, and tell the story of my bloody epiphany. In five minutes, with the aid of 20 slides which, god willing and the creek don't rise, will advance automagically every 15 seconds. (They kinda-sorta did during the rehearsal, when they were there, only five seconds off.)

Am I not terrified? Of course I am. I would be a damned fool if I wasn't at least a little bit nervous, and I am nobody's fool, so yeah, I'm terrified.

So what?


If I do it, whether or not I do it well, my world gets a little bigger. And this is a choice I made seven years ago, when I decided to keep my colon, and 15 years ago, when I decided to quit advertising, and four years ago, when I decided to quit acting, and two years ago, when I decided to quit whatever the hell it was I did for five minutes after I quit acting only to have it not feel exactly right, even though there was no other ridge in sight. I want a bigger world for everyone, or at least the choice of a bigger world, or maybe even just the knowledge of the choice of the bigger world.

I talk about fear to drag it into the light, to help myself see what exactly it is that I'm dealing with. I thank you for being my witness. I hope that it provides something helpful by way of illumination for someone else, too...


Image by Pink Sherbet Phorotgraphy via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.