It’s been about two years since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the shores of the USA and slightly longer for others, depending on where you are in the world. While a chunk of the past two years can be easily described as one of the biggest downers of the century, it has allowed many of us – no, forced many of us – to reflect on our own lives, often coming to the realization that just because we are living a certain way does not mean we have to stay the path or keep things as they are. This recognition of our individual power to make waves and create lasting change for ourselves and possibly those around us has been inspiring to witness. As a fairly risk-averse person, I’ve been watching it all from the sidelines, cheering the brave ones on as they go after whatever’s next. But as my risk of staying put begins to outweigh my risk of uncertainty, I find myself ready to crash through the safety barriers separating me from the rest of these adventurers. Put me in, coach. I’m ready to play!
Growing up, I was the star bench-warmer on my softball team and an enthusiastic supporting member of the chorus in almost every community theatre musical I participated in. I got to feel like I was a part of the show while soaking up all I could learn from the heavy hitters and lead actors. Now grown(ish), I find myself in a similar role, staying close by while friends and colleagues shine and knock their dreams out of the park. I’ve always known my circle is full of talented people, but trust me when I tell you these humans are the absolute ROCKSTARS! In my desire to learn from the best, I’ve gone on a mission to ask each of them how it is they’ve done it.
Like many humans trying to figure out this whole life thing, I find solace in that which is known. I am most comfortable when the ground beneath my feet is solid and when I feel 100% confident in my ability to take on the task at hand. I can shy away from a challenge for the sake of shielding myself from embarrassment over failure or in an effort to keep the peace rather than risk a conflict. I won’t upset the apple cart out of fear that it could result in the loss of the life I currently know, even if it’s not the life I want it to be. Even though the known isn’t ideal, it’s safe.
While the answers to my many questions were as varied as the dreams and successes of each of my rockstar friends, there was a noticeably common theme. In short: everything I am doing in the paragraph above is WRONG! Of course, it’s not entirely my fault. This notion of staying in comfort zones is how our lizard brains have evolved over time to protect us from perceived danger. However, it has quickly become apparent to me that in order to break past the safety barrier to join the game I am going to have to face the danger and kiss my comfort zone goodbye.
In response to my questions to Rockstar Friend #1, she flipped the script back my way and asked, “when has there been a time where you jumped and didn’t land on a surface higher and better than the one you leapt from?” Cue the awkward silence at my inability to answer this question and then panicking because if I don’t give a scenario then I’ve tooted my horn way too loud!
In response to telling Rockstar Colleague #2, who is about 10 years my junior, that I wanted to be her when I grow up, her advice was simply, “you can. You just have to have the audacity to do it.” Well heck. OK. Typically I need at least three drinks to have any audacity, but that does not seem appropriate here.
And Rockstar Mentor #3’s advice – “yes, it’s uncomfortable to walk straight into uncertainty. But if you brave the journey, you’ll find freedom on the other side of the uncertainty.” Seeing the glow on her face and feeling the positive energy constantly radiating whenever she’s in the room, she’s really selling me that this is a good trade.
So, with this, here I go. I’m taking in a deep breath, having the audacity to make a giant leap, create some noise (I anticipate there will be lots of screaming), and seeing what sort of freedom can be found on the other side of this uncertainty. What am I doing, exactly? Feel free to hang out with me to see.
And if you’re on your own life journey to see what’s past the uncertainty, let me know! I’d love to be your hype person and cheer you on. I’ve got this. You’ve got this! We can do it, friends!