Show Up. Take A Bow.

"Knowing your path and going after what you believe in will naturally create serendipity around the right people that will support you, love you and help you grow; and if you continue to shape your life based on what you love, I believe everything else will just fall into place." 
-Amanda Slavin

Sometimes it just requires that you show up- the path unfolds after you take that first step...

The phone rang tonight, and on the other end was my 7 year-old niece.

"Do you want to come to my piano recital? It's on September 28th at 2:30pm."

I smiled and replied, "Oh absolutely!! I would love to come and support you!"

Her tone suddenly changed and became somber.  "I'm afraid that I'm going to mess up.  What will people think if I make a mistake?"  

"It's ok.  Everyone makes mistakes.  You just keep going.  Some people won't even know that you even made the mistake.  It's all about having the right attitude."

I heard a sigh at the other end of the phone.  Continuing in her very serious tone she answered, "My attitude is telling me that I don't want to play in the piano recital."

I told her the story of how nervous I used to get before all of my piano recitals.  One time, I started playing the wrong piece. (Claire de Lune and Long, Long Ago do sound pretty similar starting out, just for the record).  "And remember," I added, "We love you and will be there to support you.  And even if you make a mistake, we love you just the same because we are proud of you for being brave."

Her artwork of my sister and me playing the piano together...
Later tonight, it occurred to me- oh how some things never change, even when you're an adult!  We are all afraid of making mistakes, being negatively judged, feeling inadequate.  It may not be on a piano stage- it could be in the boardroom, giving a presentation, standing in front of intimidating colleagues, or in the classroom.

It's knowing, however, at the end of the day, that there are people in the audience who love you unconditionally.  They are clapping just as loudly for you whether you performed flawlessly or completely flopped.  They believe not only in your potential, but in who you are, at this exact moment.  And they cheer the loudest when you smile and take a bow, regardless if you perfectly hit all of the notes or forgot a whole entire section of the piece.

As an entrepreneur, I know that vulnerable experiences are exciting but they can also be frightening.  Like my niece, those same questions are floating in my head at times- "What if I mess up?  What if I make a mistake?"  Just like piano recitals, I know that not everything goes as planned.  It's what you do afterwards to recover that matters more.  You take a deep breath, collect yourself, move on, and later find yourself experiencing the love and joy of the music once again.

We must never let our fear prevent us from showing up on stage.

And whatever happens, we must always smile widely and take a bow, knowing that our tribe is out there in the audience, proudly cheering and clapping for us.

Asking the right questions...