I recently came across an essay in NPR’s “This I Believe” series that was written by Robert Fulghum, author of “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” The piece was entitled “Dancing All the Dances As Long As I Can.” In it, Fulghum speaks of a passion of his, dancing, and what it means to him. He relays a recent enthusiasm for tango, and his initial intimidation to try it. However, he thought back to an earlier time when he’d chosen to “stay on the sidelines” when the dancing began after a village wedding on the Greek island of Crete.
The fancy footwork confused me. “Don’t make a fool of yourself,” I thought. “Just watch.”
Reading my mind, an older woman dropped out of the dance, sat down beside me, and said, “If you join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you do not, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance?”
And, she said she had a secret for me. She whispered, “If you do not dance, we will know you are a fool. But if you dance, we will think well of you for trying.”
This statement got me thinking… How many times are we thought to be fools because we let our fears of appearing foolish keep us from trying something new? Not only that, how often do we miss out on finding something we actually love doing because we’re too afraid to even try it?
In February of this year, I met the owner of a local business development center at a networking event. He was setting up a social media seminar series, and asked me if I would be willing to speak about the relevance of social media to business owners. While I had given presentations at work in the past, it was always to people I knew. The idea of speaking in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know scared the heck out of me! But I’ve been prayerfully building my business by stepping through the doors that open for me, so I said “yes” even though I had reservations about it.
That was one of the best decisions I’d made since starting my business. Since then, I’ve spoken an average of 3 times per month at various locations to different groups; all of which is free publicity for my business. Each engagement has led to new clients and prospects and, if nothing else, it’s ensured that people know what I do and recognize me the next time we run into one another somewhere. As you know, the sales process requires multiple “touches” before a prospect is ready to buy from you, and this has definitely been a means of shortening that process.
So, what have you been sitting on the sidelines avoiding? What’s outside of your comfort zone that you probably should be doing? What are you afraid to try that might actually be a blessing to you or your business? If you feel inclined, leave a comment below and share what it is. Then, screw up your courage, realize that you’re going to feel foolish whether you face your challenge or not, and determine to make people think well of you for trying! And while you’re getting started, consider this quote from VaroTango. “There are no wrong moves in tango, only new ones.”