This past weekend, I was helping my fiance with his stained glass display at the Wells Street Art Festival in downtown Chicago. Besides being very hot weather, we had a great weekend and met lots of interesting folks.
One of the things I noticed was that many of the people wandering about had a way of doing things that one might call “bold actions”. For example, several people were able to walk right up to a complete stranger they thought looked interesting and talk to them — even experimenting with a foreign language just to see if they guessed the language right! Yes, this guy whom I’ll simply call Jake walked up to a pretty woman who was speaking a foreign language and asked her how she was doing in Russian even though he was born and raised in Chicago with English as his first language. He told me that he spoke only a little Russian and thought it was worth giving it a try. Turns out he struck out, because she was actually speaking Polish! Oh well, as he said, it was worth a try!
There were at least 5 different people who walked up to me as I was sitting in our new aluminum frame director’s chair and asked me where I got such a cool chair. I was a total stranger to them, and they made it look easy to simply walk up to me and strike up a conversation. When I was younger, I would have been much to shy to do something that bold. And, now, in such situations, I think “what’s the risk?”. The person might ignore me or think I’m strange, or they might find it interesting and we might have a fun conversation.
Sometimes, I get comfortable in my life, and I forget to take bold actions. Sometimes, the actions I’m afraid of taking are really not even that bold; they simply feel bold to me! To someone else, they might even seem downright boring! We each have our own hangups that keep us thinking and acting smaller than we need to, simply different ones for different people.
Even I had the chance to do something bold, something that was a bit outside of my comfort zone. I was talking with a woman that worked for the event management company, and we had some very interesting and fun conversations throughout the weekend. She talked about an upcoming international trip she was taking which sounds like a lot of fun. Later, I was talking with one of the people who struck up a conversation about my chair. One of his friends came up who happened to be from that country. Well, I thought it was such a coincidence that I made a mental note of it. Later, I asked her if she might want to meet the foreign guy, and she said that she’d love to. By that time, the foreign guy was gone, but the original guy was hanging around outside of the nearby bar. Well, I decided to do something that seemed bold to me. I got her contact info, walked up to the guy and his group, and asked him to give her number to his foreign friend so he’d call her. Now, since I was doing something for someone else, it was much less bold. However, it was quite a bit outside of my comfort zone. As I was contemplating it, I reminded myself of the question “what’s the risk”. My answer was “none whatsoever, only possible upside”, and I walked up to him. He was nice about it. Whether he’ll really pass on the info or think I was some flake, who knows. I was happy that I’d stretched my comfort zone a bit to include something new!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Also possible, something ventured nothing gained. Or something ventured, something gained!
This week, pick one thing that feels new or uncertain and give it a go. See what happens. Maybe something or maybe nothing. You only know once you’ve actually done it.
A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. – William Shedd