Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Last week, I spoke about capturing life stories at Ignite Chicago, a monthly event where people discuss their passions in five minutes or less. (Highly recommend attending one of these if you haven't checked it out.) The experience was challenging, nerve-wracking, and I found myself seriously questioning my sanity in the week leading up to the event. Preparing and practicing this tight and choreographed speech brought back a lot of emotions. I relived the beginning stages of this business: my dad’s illness and the scary prognosis that led to my first life story interview.
The night of the event, I was terrified. But I took a deep breath and did it anyway. Friends and family were there and they lent me their courage. I may have been in a full blackout once I started, because I don’t remember anything that followed. All I remember is returning to my seat and asking my husband, ‘Was that okay?!?’ My heart was racing and remained lodged in my throat for the next several speakers. I did NOT bomb. In fact, the whole experience was a thrill and a lesson in humility at the same time. Quite unexpectedly, I was reduced to childlike fear. I'm a bit glad it's over, but I'm also very happy I did it anyway.
When was the last time you walked through fear? As we grow older, we mature and can confidently handle most things that life throws at us. But we also become risk averse. Some of this is self-preservation, which is a smart thing, but this can also keep us stuck and prevent growth. As the summer wanes, I challenge you to find something that scares and excites you and run toward it. What have you always wanted to try but were too scared to do? Say yes and figure it out later. Take a deep breath and do it anyway. You’ll be so glad you did.