Nerves

Last Thursday, I got back from an overnight trip to Florida and made my way to rehearsal. I’d missed the previous few days and wasn’t where I wanted to be with my performances. No regrets – I’d done my best with all the time I had available – yet I knew I didn’t have it yet.

We began the run and I waited backstage for my queue. A minute or two in, I noticed that my nerves were a wreck. I wasn’t feeling it. The first act was fairly strong. The second act, though, I just didn’t have. I had the lines nearly memorized, yet the timing and sequence was off.

About halfway through the night, while I waited for my next queue, I hit my low point and had the “run” feeling. “What am I doing here? I’m not ready for this.. I should run and hide.”

I acknowledged the feelings and took a breathe. This is what I signed up for. This is the discomfort I sought. I knew it would be hard. I also knew I could do it. And I knew that I just have to keep going.

As I waited to go on again, I reminded myself to smile. I directed my energy into focusing on what my character was feeling. It didn’t take all the nerves away, but it helped.

At the end of the night, our director called us together. She was frank about where we were at and let us know it wasn’t pretty. She also encouraged and affirmed us. We’ve worked hard over the past few months – now we just have to pull it together.

Tonight, a week later, is our last rehearsal. We’ve been at it 4-5 hours each night all week and, as intense as it’s been, it’s paying off. The cast is doing incredible. I know my lines. My singing is improving. I’ve felt a lot more comfortable with experimenting and trying new things with my two characters, taking in feedback from other cast members and just fine-tuning the performance.

Tomorrow night is opening night. I feel the nerves. I also feel a confidence that comes from putting in the effort and from being part of a team. The guidance, the feedback, the tips, and support from the cast and crew has been invaluable and I’m excited to see it all come together.

Tomorrow night we go Into The Woods. If you’re anywhere near Liberty Lake, Washington, get your tickets and join us.

Walking Away

I’m really happy with how this week has gone. I got a lot done, made progress on multiple fronts, worked through some high stress experiences, and found more than ever to be grateful for.

One of my struggles right now is that there are so many great things going on I’m having a hard time keeping up and choosing where to invest my focus and energy. Post Status is growing fast. Our work with partners and clients is picking up momentum.

There’s also a lot going on outside of work. Into the Woods opens next week. Board meetings are coming up.

It’s the end of the week now, though, and I’m walking away. I love what I get to do and the people I get to work with. I’m looking forward to picking it all up again next week. For the rest of today, though, and tomorrow, I’m just letting it go and walking away.

Rest

I’m writing tonight from a kitchen window, overlooking the Oregon coast in an AirBnB Joslyn and I rented for the weekend. We arrived last night and enjoyed a great first day, letting Jaiden (11) pick breakfast (he chose Pigs N’Pancakes – I was skeptical, yet ended up quite pleased), then making our way over to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

We took our time about the day, wandering through parts of Newport (the “big town” nearest where we’re staying) then arriving back at the beach house in time to enjoy the sunset.

Joslyn and I both find it hard to take time off. We love achieving, the rush of getting things done, and days off sometimes feel like work as we try and figure out what to do with ourselves. Trips are nice because “what to do” ends up somewhat taking care of itself.

I’ve kept the Sabbath (Saturday) as long as I can remember. It’s a 24-hour period from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday where I don’t work. And, as a kid, it was also the time when I couldn’t do anything “fun” (a story for another time).

As an adult now, though, I’ve found keeping Sabbath to be a consistent key to high performance and to my sanity. It seems counterintuitive. I love getting things done. Why would I stop?

There’s something about stopping, though, about putting it all away and taking time to rest, to enjoy the people and world around you, that rejuvenates and brings new energy.

I’ve been won over. As a kid, it was often a bother, though I did enjoy the time we’d usually spend with friends. As an adult, I look forward to it now and am grateful to my parents for bringing it into my life.

How about you? How do you create time and space for rest?

Reflection

I took a moment today to look back at videos of my kids over the years. Jaiden is 11, Jensyn is 8, and I’ve recorded fantastic moments all the back to infancy (though, admittedly, more of Jaiden then Jensyn). It was great and I sent a few around to friends and family.

I showed up in a video or two and as I scrolled back I noticed how much younger I looked. Hearing myself talk in one of the oldest videos seemed like listening to someone else.

I had a conversation with my brother Joshua today and over the course of our chat we traced the history of our work together, back to our late teenager years and early twenties.

I also took a moment to re-read my first blog post entry today, which is over 16 years old now. (Sidenote: I love WordPress, it’s so fantastic to have a history on the Open Web, warts and all, that’s there and it’s mine).

One thing in particular that I know has changed, besides the beard, is I’ve become more accepting of myself. I’ve got a long track record of giving myself a hard time. You can see it in that first post and in quite a few others.

Not too long ago, I would have looked back with at least a degree of shame at my younger self in those videos and blog posts. So naive, so certain.

Books like Daring Greatly and The Four Agreements, conversations with my coach, and tools like Positive Intelligence have helped me see myself differently and, consequently, change how I see others.

As I look back, I’m grateful for who I’ve been at each step of the journey. Open, even as I’ve been uncertain, sincere, even when I’ve been misguided, and committed to learning and growing, especially when it’s been hard.

And I’m grateful for the folks who have accepted me for who I was, who I’ve always been, and who I am.

Here’s to reflecting and I look forward to reflecting again.

Beginning Again

It’s been a fantastic week. We’re off to the races in my new role at Post Status and, between that and supporting clients and growing businesses, I’ve had multiple moments of wondering throughout the week, “How am I going to get it all done?” And when I do manage to get the most important things done, I’m tempted to ask, “How do I have time for anything else?”

And I love it. I thoroughly enjoy the work and the people I get to work with.

Then, at 6 PM, I get into my car and drive to my local theatre. And for the next 2-3 hours, that’s all I do. I step inside the auditorium and I’m a beginner again.

We’re rehearsing and preparing for a performance of Into the Woods that premiers next month and, outside of an Easter drama at my local church, I’m brand new and far outside of my comfort zone. Most of my fellow cast members have extensive experience, and it shows – I love being in the room and just hearing them practice.

I’ve been cast in two minor roles, the Mysterious Man and the Steward, which, frankly, are both perfect for my newness and also a significant stretch. I’ve got 12 condensed pages of dialogue to learn and a solo performance in a song that pushes me.

And I love it. What I realized this week while texting with Cory Miller during a break, was the value in what I was experiencing as a beginner again. Each night of rehearsal pulls me out of the world that I love and puts me in another, bringing my creativity, my focus, my attention, and energy into a new area of work where I go from being often the most experienced to the least.

It gives me a chance to step away from the WordPress world that I love and rest my brain, activating different areas of thought and growing new creative capabilities. And I find that the forced break, the disconnecting, leads me to think about ways to bring more of that into the rest of my life and making sure I get the rest I need. Which, ultimately, helps me keep getting better at what I do.

Do you have areas in life where you’re able to step outside of what you’re good at, give yourself a break, and be a beginner again?