In the last couple of months, I've participated in two new experiences and a few times received peculiar feedback when I shared what I did.
First, I jump rope almost every day during the winter using my CrossRope ropes. It's workout, not skill focused. For two years, I've been looking for a skills clinic, and I finally found one near my house, hosted by the Cary YMCA Super Skippers. It was marketed for all ages, and I signed up for the 3.5-hour clinic.
When I walked in, everyone aged 6-10 except for one 15-year-old girl and me. I was thankful for the high-school girl because it allowed us to practice double-dutch and learn in a different area of the room than the kids (we didn't need to practice the sit-and-listen game or have a fruit snack at a break).
I'm almost 50, but I never thought of turning around when I saw all those kids. My husband said he would have walked right out, but it didn't cross my mind. It was skill-based, and we were at the same level. Being around them and seeing them practicing over and over and not worrying about what people were thinking was so refreshing.
I posted about it on LinkedIn, and it was fun to read the responses of people who had recently gone outside their comfort zone or tried something new.
Justin Jones-Fosu became a Level 1 Sommelier. Lisa Wood, our Client Concierge and Director of Marketing, took a tap dancing class, Sophie Howell started doing Pilates, Deb Oronzio took up pottery, Elisabeth Galperin took surfing lessons with a group of 8-16 year-olds, Judith Guertin started knitting, Jennifer Kahnweiler is writing poetry, Dr. Jonica Rowland is jumping rope, Dawn Bjork pushed aside her childhood story of not being sporty and committed as an adult to try over 50 different activities, lately learning poker and now being known as the Black Widow. Duncan Shaw started boxing, and Wendy Gates-Corbett is now playing pickleball.
The second thing I did was become a backup singer at The Great Cover-Up. This Raleigh event covers three weekends and has 10-11 bands per night, with each band covering 4-5 songs AS THE BAND. It's not covering a band. You ARE the band. It sells out every night, and the lines snake around the block. My husband, Kevin, and our Concierge, Lisa, are professional musicians, and they asked me to be a backup singer. Out of the eight of us onstage, only two of us weren't pro musicians. We were the Eurythmics, and we killed it! It was So. Much. Fun and gave me insight into the life my husband has led his entire adult life. Four nights of rehearsals, all for 20 minutes of music. It made me understand why musicians do it for no to little money sometimes.
It was also fun to play the tambourine (not literally) for Lisa when under normal circumstances, she's playing it for me as my support system at RaderCo.
When I committed to doing Ironman triathlons back when I was 30, I couldn't even swim the length of a pool. Swimming 2.4 miles is no small feat, but I knew I could learn.
One of the best books I've read on mindset is from Carol Dweck – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. My big takeaway is that when people are experts at certain things and identify with that, if they have a closed mindset, they won't push themselves or go outside their comfort zones for fear of no longer being an expert. My husband sees this with many of his drum students, who have been told from an early age that they are so talented or naturally gifted. Those are the ones who won't try to learn the hard stuff or go out for jazz band. They are afraid they might fail. The book made me change how I speak to kids and how I look at new experiences.
What are you thinking about doing that you feel a little nervous about, aren't sure if you're the right fit, or scares you just a little? If you can't remember or it's been several years, now's the time to list a few things you'll commit to learning with an open mindset and not turn down an offer or walk out the door.