When I turned 40, I plucked up the courage to do something I had never done before. I auditioned for a play. I had never taken an acting class or auditioned for anything (other than cheerleading in High School that was a fail). Yet, deep down, I knew that if I didn’t at least give it a try, I would always feel like I had let myself down.
Fast forward to February 2017 when I participated in the Short & Sweet 10 minute play festival in Dubai. As I was waiting in the “the wings” for my stage entrance, I felt sick to my stomach and whispered to my colleagues… “why do we do this?” At that moment, nerves got the best of me and I forgot why I participate in amateur dramatics. What if I forget my lines? Would if something goes wrong? Would if the audience doesn’t like it? I think you get the idea.
Yet, immediately after the performance, I knew I would do it again. There are many reasons I love this hobby; among them are things I have learned about myself, and life, in the process.
First and foremost, acting has taught me the importance of honoring an inner calling. Many of us have inner callings that, if not explored, can create regret later in life. Yet, often times, this wisdom is suppressed; we let fear (or other excuses) get in the way. We suffer when we shrink into our safe existence, patterns and routines.
Secondly, it is important to embrace our doubts and uncertainty. In spite of the anxiety acting causes me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is the tension of stepping from the place of certainty, “ the wings”, into the uncertainty of the spotlight that creates a sense of aliveness in me. If I always knew the outcome would be, the process wouldn’t provide the same kind of satisfaction.
And, we don’t have to pile pressure on ourselves to set the world on fire or climb the highest mountain. I don’t need to be a movie star to fully enjoy acting. As a coach, I have supported others in honoring themselves in big ways and small. Whether redefining a career direction, starting a new business, joining a local writing group or skiing on a dry slope, it is never too late and there are many ways to honor a calling and enjoy the aliveness that new experiences and living outside our comfort zone can bring.
I invite you to pause for a moment.
If you decide its time to step up for yourself, here are a few practical things I have learned, and shared with clients, that I hope will help you on your way.
And trust that, regardless of the outcome, you will move from existence to aliveness; towards a life without regrets. As they say in the world of theatre, “break a leg.”
By Lisa Harter, Certified Life & Happiness Coach