Nervous was just a little glimpse into what I was feeling as I embarked cross country to go on retreat.  I wasn’t feeling like doing any personal development work.  I was thinking, personal work sounds exhausting right now and honestly, I’m good.

All I wanted to do was connect with my sisters and sleep.

But the thing I knew (that I was kind of ignoring) was that I had to get up on stage and speak.  Yep you heard that right. Speak on stage!

The retreat was titled “Captivate”.   The purpose was to learn to captivate your audience with your message.

What was my message, what story did I want to share?  How vulnerable did I really want to be?

In the end I realized that this is what I was really nervous about.

I stayed in a house with 4 other women who were also on the retreat.  One night while sitting around the table we were talking about our speeches, I told them that I was planning to speak about my relationship with my husband but that I had this other idea.  That idea involved standing up on stage and singing.  A fear that I have held onto for a long time.

Back up, back up. You were going to sing?, they said.

Yes, when I was young I was told by my family that I was a terrible singer but I loved to sing and so I stopped singing in front of people a long time ago.  And I thought I could bust through my fear by singing on stage.

What were you going to sing?, one sister said (who happens to be a singer).

I was going to sing, Whitney Houston.

What song? The Greatest Love Of All?, she said.

Yes!  That’s the one, because I love it.

So of course they wanted me to get up and sing it.

So I did.

I got up and I sang. At first I felt foolish and I messed up but then I closed my eyes and I sang and when I opened my eyes, they were all smiling.

They loved it.  (And they advised some coaching and more emphasis on the notes :).

So I decided that is what I was going to speak about and I was going to get up on stage and sing.  I wish I had a video to share with you because it was one of the greatest moments of my life.  But you will have to imagine it.

The thing I learned, we are programmed to be a certain way.  To do certain things. Certainty is safe.  If we venture out of our comfort zone we get to grow and change and become something else.  Something that isn’t certain, that is more exciting and fun.  We take chances and really go for what we want.  And in turn we get to live the life we truly desire.

I am not a great singer, I like to sing.  I don’t want to be a singer.  When I was young I wanted to sing and I was told I couldn’t so I didn’t.  Getting up on stage made me realize that there are things I want to do and if I let someone else tell me I can’t, then I won’t.  And that isn’t okay with me anymore.

Our lives are ultimately really short.  I say go for it!  Go for the things you want, do the things you want to do. Bust through your fears because it is worth it!

With Love + Appreciation,