You may or may not know that when I am not engaged in my day job of coaching and speaking, I am an actress.
Yep. I am privileged to be part of the acting company of an award-winning regional playhouse. In our most recent production, I play the leading lady. This particular director conducts his own "coaching" sessions with all of his actors in character conferences during the weeks of rehearsal. It is here we discuss what is working and what is not to best convey the character's perspective and how my role contributes to bringing the story to life.
Make The Choice
Recently, during one of these sessions, we discussed an acting choice I was considering. The choice would put me outside my comfort zone and not entirely confident that I could "pull it off" and have the audience believe it was authentic to my character. My director told me, "Make the choice. Take the risk. Don't play small." He assured me that during rehearsal, he would be there to support and advise as I worked toward my acting goal. But if I didn't try "it," I would “never know what I was truly capable of”. Ouch.
Small is safe. Small is comfortable. The reassuring benefit is no fear of failure or embarrassment. Small is also dull. It presents no challenge to overcome. Risk is, well, risky. There's a chance that in choosing to take the risk, I could fall flat on my face. Do they still allow theatergoers to bring rotten fruit as in Shakespeare's day? Yikes!
Take The Risk With Support
What my director said resonated, sounded familiar even and I quickly realized why. I tell my coaching clients the same thing every day. "Make a bold choice. Take the bigger risk. Don't play your life small. I will be here to support and advise as you work toward your goals." Then my authentic voice began to speak up. "What if it turns out great! What if they love it! Give yourself the chance to be a little afraid, but do it anyway. Your success will be in your bravery!"
I love watching my clients go through this process and go for it! And you know what? It usually works out! And when it isn’t exactly what they hoped for, often something just a valuable is realized or a life lesson is learned that helps take them to the next level in an unexpected way. Having support from a coach, a trusted friend or advisor is always a good idea. When up on the tightrope, it helps to know someone is out in the audience encouraging you as you consider your steps.
Celebrate Your Courage
On the stage of your life, where are you playing it small? What risky choice is skipping around in your brain? What next step seems just too uncomfortable and scary? If it's a little scary, you're on the right track of leading in your own life with vitality and authenticity! Celebrate your courage each step of the way as you make brave choices in reaching for your goal. Taking a risk isn’t easy. Trust yourself. You have everything inside to do “it”.
It’s opening night! I'm taking the risk and not playing it small. What about you?
MaryAnn Gramig is the CEO of AuthenticA Coaching & Consulting and is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Leadership Development Consultant, and public speaker. You can learn more about living strong with authenticity at www.authenticacoaching.com.