A couple of years ago, I auditioned for a local theatre production. It was my first audition in forever, but the call of the stage is always whispering to me and this seemed like a doable opportunity to heed its call. Plus, it felt like an adventure!
Other than my voice teacher, who helped me prepare musically and Jesse (my Beau), who helped me prepare mentally, I told no one. I anticipated that people would either question why I was doing it or get excited for me and become invested in the outcome and both of those reactions felt like pressure.
As the date drew nearer my nerves got nervier. I started to come up with some very logical reasons why I shouldn’t do it: it’s a waste of time, I probably won’t get a part, I’m too old for this, it’s silly to even want it … and on, and on.
Even while hedging, I diligently practiced my 16 bars of music and my monologue. I typed up a new resume, cringing at the realization that my most recent credit was 20 years ago (who do I think I am doing this?).
Before I knew it, the night of the audition had arrived and I found myself parked in front of the building with way too many minutes to spare before my call time.
I tried to do some vocal warm-ups, but nerves overtook my voice. I checked myself in the rearview mirror and my cheeks were bright pink. Ugh. I felt unraveled. But I managed to walk into the building anyhow.
It went ok. It wasn’t my best and it wasn’t a disaster. I was shaking like crazy and floated above my body for most of it, but I got through. When I got home Jesse asked me how it went, and I promptly broke into tears. When I was finally able to speak these were my words:
I was just so afraid that I wouldn’t go.
And there it was. Absolute truth. My biggest fear was not that I would blow it (I didn’t) or that I wouldn’t get the part (I didn’t). It was that I would succumb to the voice inside that told me not to try.
I know this voice well. It is crafty and super convincing and wields a fair amount of power over me. It can be harsh “you’re not good enough” or deceptively casual “why bother?” It has talked me into my biggest regrets by talking me out of taking chances.
Yes, I know this voice well. But I didn’t fully grasp how much pain it was causing until those tears fell in my kitchen. The relief was so raw because the fear of NOT doing was so heavy.
Shortly thereafter, I made the move to open my own practice for yoga and massage. I had been considering this for a long time, weighing the pros and cons of staying put or taking flight. Finally, perhaps emboldened by my audition experience, the voice that was willing to try stared down the voice that wasn’t and won.
I am sharing this story with you because I am now two years into owning my practice and it is wonderful. Even on days when I question if things are going as well as they “should” or I get overwhelmed by busyness, I feel wholly satisfied from taking the leap.
Trying and failing is never fun. Failing by not trying feels much, much worse. I know. I’ve been there. Maybe you have too.
So, the next time you are considering taking a chance, I hope you will listen to the voice inside that knows best. The one that tells you to give it a shot. The one that pushes you forward. The one that promises to catch you if you fall.