During last summer’s heatwave I was struggling to get an open mic music night going in our local pub. I can remember standing in front of the microphone playing a song to the landlord, my partner, parents and the one other person who’d given-up his time to come and play, feeling pretty miserable about the situation and wondering what the point was.
Now, six months later, we have a thriving night, well-supported and hugely fun evening. I’ve made new friends through it and enjoyed a huge boost to my confidence.
At the beginning of August last year I stood nervously on the start line at my local parkrun. I didn’t really know how it worked, or anybody there. I’d never knowlingly run 5k before and I had to walk part of it at least twice that morning to get round the course.
Now, five months later, I’m running the distance in a time I never thought possible, booked a marathon place in October and in a couple of weeks am in charge of the whole Saturday morning race as a run director.
Several years ago I had a strange idea to send out an email every day. It felt daunting, possibly stupid and definitely unlikely to succeed. I got a few rude emails back about the idea, but a positive-enough response overall to stick at it.
But now I’ve effectively written at least two books (arguably many more given the paucity of useful content in many business tomes), made a whole host of friendships and picked up enough work to occasionally thrive and generally sustain myself.
In each of these situations I’ve questioned the benefit/point early on, but always been grateful I carried on. Turning up is often the hardest part of anything. Starting. Putting yourself out there.
Over the course of this week I’m going to explore some of the issues around this, and what you can do to make it easier to take those chances.
If you’ve got any thoughts or experiences, add them below – or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d prefer to keep it confidential.