Do you hate learning new things in front of people? I do. A lot.

I haven’t learned to ballroom dance because I do not want my husband to see me “learning” to ballroom dance. Until I try in front of him, I can keep the mysterious question going…  “is Nicole an awesome, naturally-gifted ballroom dancer?? Could be!!”

… I am settling for that.

A few years ago, we went on a cruise with a large group of friends. One night, we went to the karaoke bar. Now, I love singing when no one can hear me: loud concerts, the shower, my car. But, singing karaoke in front of people – especially friends with whom I work and will continue to see regularly…? Nope. No way. I actually remember saying the words, “I like what you currently think of me. There’s no way I am messing that up by singing in front of you.”

“I like what you currently think of me.” 

 

I am more comfortable with the
potential of being awesome than living the
struggle of becoming awesome.

*****

Before we get to all the life-lessons I should have learned by now, let’s talk truth for a second:

We are judgmental as people. Every single day, I hear people whisper critiques and make decisions about each other. Oh, he’s not great at this. She’s not ready for that.  I, myself, have seen someone try something and thought, oh. That was not very impressive.

We make decisions and categorize each other’s abilities.  And, then, as opportunities arise – both professionally and personally – we decide who is allowed to participate. Who is good enough?

Entire TV channels are built on this, this “making or not making the cut.”  You mess up once and you are out. Passion doesn’t matter unless you impress us. Perseverance is actually pitiable when you are not really that good.

This system is what makes some of us sing only in the shower and dance only when the door is locked tight.

I am so scared of not being allowed to participate, that I choose not to participate. I opt myself out before anyone else can cut me from the list.

But this hurts and limits me (you too??) in any attempt to reach goals or actually learn the best skills in life – the skills and arts that could free us and make us feel most alive.

I want to stop living in my potential and start training in the actual. Otherwise, I will spend my life dancing behind locked doors and burying my voice in the noise.

Can we each believe that as long as we are trying, we are succeeding?  Is that possible?

Can we find the bravery to stop settling for potential and start grabbing hold of actual?  Can we value the ACTUAL above the POTENTIAL, no matter what the outcome?

*****