There was no forewarning. One moment I was happily standing with two other summit attendees. The next, I was struggling to maintain my composure, holding back an overwhelming urge to cry, scream, and vomit.
It all started innocently enough. Dave and I were attending the World Domination Summit. As big Amazing Race fans, we were thrilled to learn that WDS had an activity known as the Unconventional Race. In between extraordinary speakers and meet-ups, we raced around Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., solving puzzles and visiting unusual venues. It was a blast!
Fear As Self-Limiting
A recurring theme at the summit was overcoming self-limiting behavior. A number of speakers urged us to imagine what we could accomplish if we were not afraid. I was intrigued. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my fear of losing status in the eyes of others continued to impede my progress towards a simpler, priority driven life.
Perhaps overlooking the obvious, I made no connection between “facing self-limiting fears” and participating in the Unconventional Race. The race was simply a fun companion activity.
Not So Much Fun Any More
It all changed shortly before the awards ceremony. It was then that we learned that the 3 finalists would be performing a rap in the tradition of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. As a reserved, middle-aged attorney with no musical skills or swagger, I could not think of anything more mortifying.
What Are You Afraid Of?
If I had had any doubt as to what I was afraid of, being asked to perform a rap in front of 2,500+ people brought it all into perfect focus.
I was terrified of being a “joke”, someone who is “less than”, someone to be pitied or looked down upon. I not only wanted to achieve, I wanted others to recognize my achievements and respect me all the more.
How could I step onto stage and make a fool of myself?
This I Know
I would like to tell you that I knocked it out of the park, overcame my fears and had a life-changing experience – but such was not the case. What I can tell you is this….to have refused to perform would have served no purpose other than protecting my ego.
I made it through the experience by telling myself that performing the rap would be my way of honoring the volunteers who had made WDS possible. Besides, this rationale sounded much nobler than the simple fact that I could not think of any graceful or face-saving way of refusing to perform.
As it turned out, some of the audience might have enjoyed my performance, some might have been amused by the musical train wreck, and some might have thought less of me. In any event, I survived.
Thank you for letting me share this experience with you. Please join me in this challenge: Let’s do our level best to honor others and our priorities… even if it reduces us in the eyes of others.
(… and if you would like to view a cell phone recording of my “rap”, please see it by clicking here. )
Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com