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What's Next-ness

I’m just over a week now, back from the Applied Improvisation Network (AIN) annual conference at Stony Brook University, and I’m still trying to exhale. The people I met, the workshops and keynotes I attended, the games and conversations. All of it. So much to peel back and uncover; discover.

Yeah, it kinda rocked my world.

And while I’m still riding the conference high, I’m also humbled and a little intimidated by the “what’s next”-ness now that it’s over. I mean, I came out of there firing on all cylinders about what my work can/should be; all the ways improv-inspired learning can serve companies, communities, children, social causes. And while it’s all so clear in my head, the reality is that building and growing takes a whole lot of work and time.

This is just about when Fear’s voice starts to shout:

What in the world are you getting into now?

You don’t have the experience/skill/certification to do this!

You’re way past your prime for starting a business - I mean look around you. These twenty-somethings on Instagram will crush you before you even get started.

Who exactly do you think you are?

On good days, I have all the answers:

Who do I think I am?!? I’m a smart, dynamic, capable, amazing woman filled with creative gusto and badass moxie. I’ve got some brazen ideas and a network of loving believers to support their growth. My work will inspire whole-hearted aliveness through story, play and connection - so take THAT to the !@*&!@*& bank, suckers!

On the other days, I believe Fear’s taunts, which sometimes means hesitation, self-doubt, trepidation. Or, as I’ve been demonstrating this past week, total and complete deer-in-headlights inertia.

Because what if, right? What if I _______ (fail, embarrass myself, don’t rack up tons of new clients, let myself down, don’t do it right, can’t express my value, am misunderstood)? It’s safer to browse social media and nap; thumb through books I need to read and make long to-do lists of the little things that (if/when completed) mean progress.

I suppose the good news is that at least I’m playing the game. Sure, there are stops and starts, but I’m here aren’t I? As Teddy Roosevelt said, I’m in “the arena”.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose

face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;

who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”

Amen to dust and the sweat and the errs, if they are the marks we get for staying in the work. There is grit and valor in the dreaming and trying and doing. Maybe even more so, when we’re on the precipice of something big, but mired in the uncertainties of our “what’s next”-ness.

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