Saturday, July 13, 2013

Throwing Myself Into The Terror

I remember the first time I saw a video of someone leaping from a stage into a mosh pit. I thought the leaper was out of his mind; who but a crazy person would trust fate and a crowd of total strangers to avert the pain of an extreme face plant on the venue's unforgiving floor?

I just spent four days at an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training session (more about that later). One of the topics we covered that resonated strongly with me was "living on the appreciative edge," specifically this quote from Frank Barrett: "Throw yourself into the terror." The mental image this instantly conjured up was of launching myself into a mosh pit of strangers, and my equally immediate response was, "Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen."

Then I took a mental step back. I've actually done it before, and it's always (well, almost always) paid off in ways I couldn't have begun to imagine in advance.

Mosh pit: fear of public speaking; launch: joining Toastmasters and 6 months later participating in a regional Insurance Women's speaking contest; payoff: winning the contest and going on to a career that has included training, teaching, public speaking, speechwriting, and (ahem) blogging.

Mosh pit: fear of the unknown; launch: moving to New York when I knew no one there and hadn't seen it outside films and one job interview; payoff: 13 years of wonderful experiences, a loving husband, and a financial safety net for the rest of my life.

Those are some of the biggest launches, but I still "mosh surf" almost every day - quitting full-time-with-benefits work, dating, and networking at Appreciative Inquiry sessions with amazing but (to me) scary extroverts. Of course I don't always land as well as I might wish - I think I may have broken a virtual ankle over my leap into the relationship with Barry - but looking back, I have never done a full-fledged face plant. I'm getting pretty good at throwing myself into the terror; I may have to invest in a red cape.

"Create opportunities to surprise yourself." ~Frank Barrett, Professor of Management and Global Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California

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