Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Want My Blankie

I didn't have a blankie growing up but my kids did. Sometimes, when I'm about to take a risk, I want to wrap up in one of theirs. You've heard all about comfort zones, those temperate climates where we are most comfortable, where nothing bad can happen.

When my first mystery was published in 2006, I didn't realize what would follow. Suddenly, I was an 'expert' and offers came in for talks and panels and guess what? I had a horrible, terrible, debilitating fear of public speaking. But I said yes, of course, I'd love to. Then wanted to hide under my blankie.
The doctor prescribed little pills that I could take beforehand, but I worried that my mouth wouldn't work or I'd appear dopey and dazed. I didn't pop the pills. The first time was awful, the second time, almost as bad (stomach churning, sweats, blank mind, rapid pulse and breathing)...the fear diminished with time and experience. Next week and the week after I'm teaching multiple hour-long workshops on the craft of writing and the art of publication. And I'm not a bit nervous. One fear removed from my list.

I still need to tackle:

1. Heights. Pikes Peak almost stroked me out.

2. Sharks - No way is that one going away.

3. Flying - Getting better.

4. The monster that has lived under my bed since I was a kid.
Should we believe that successful people (success defined as whatever you think it is) are that way because they step out of their comfort zones to reach their goals? Or do they naturally have a more encompassing zone? I don't have the answers but I know my life is richer when I remove my limiting mental boundaries and take chances.