A dear friend, Aaron, moved back to town recently, and upon our meeting he reminded me of a story in my past that I had forgotten, but is quite important.
I haven't aways been a performer. In high school, I was an athlete. I played varsity soccer, and figured that my future would follow in the footsteps of my father, leading me down a path of business. I took band class to fulfill my arts credit, and when I didn't get along with the band director, I switched over to Acting because my sister had enjoyed it. From there, acting piqued my interest, but it was still nothing I took seriously.
I made a friend in the class, Kyle, who heard me singing a Panic! at the Disco song from the radio, stopped me in my tracks and said "you need to audition for the Spring musical!" I shrugged my shoulders, "ok." Sure enough, after a few forced practice sessions in front of the piano, Kyle had my name on the list to audition.
Kyle signed up in the audition group ahead of mine, he didn't want us to be nervous auditioning in front of each other. So when he was in the room, and I was outside of the room. On my own. About to be invited in. I had no one there to boost my confidence. My heart began thumping, I could feel myself beginning to sweat. My nerves were getting the best of me. In an instant, I decided, this isn't for me, and I began to pack up my materials.
Before I could turn for the door, I was interrupted by an acquaintance, Aaron, who said "Dude, what are you doing?" I told him the same phrase I had convinced myself "This isn't for me. Good luck," and began to head for the door. Able to read my nerves, Aaron said "Just give it a try." Not tenderly. It was loving, but filled with a subtext of quit being a chicken. Because of my background in athletics, Aaron either knew this was exactly what I needed to hear, or he was simply the right person in the right place at the right time. "What do you have to lose?" he said. I accepted his challenge "You're right." I walked into the audition, and sure enough ended up landing the exact role for which I auditioned.
Upon Aaron's return to Cincinnati, I spent the evening introducing him to colleagues, sharing this story over and over again. He would cheekily apologize to my colleagues, "what have I done?" But that evening he shared an open moment with me. When I thanked him for reminding me of how he is a big part of the reason that I am in this field, he responded by saying it is really cool for him to see everything that I am doing. He asked "what would have happened had he let me walk out of that audition?"
The truth is, I would be lost.