Saturday, September 26, 2009

SAY "YES!" TO THE CALL TO ADVENTURE

I’m pretty sure that when Joseph Campbell started talking about The Hero’s Journey, he wasn’t picturing someone who sat in front of the TV all day eating Dorritos, only stepping outside to get the mail or run to the corner store for another bag of chips.

When you get that Call to Adventure, you gotta be ready to leave comfort behind and leap into action. This is tough to do if your feet have become one with your fuzzy slippers and your tush has merged with the sofa. Know what I mean?

It's worth it to say “Yes!” to the Call to Adventure, even if it means forgoing comfort or facing a demon or two.

Please join me on The Journey!

STEP ONE IN THE HERO’S JOURNEY: SAY “YES!”

To get psyched for your initial leap into the abyss, I recommend listening to Liza Minnelli’s song “Yes!” from her album Liza with a ‘Z’.

It starts:

Yes
Say yes
Life keeps happenin' every day
Say yes

When opportunity comes your way
You can't start wonderin' what to say
You'll never win if you never play
Say yes

I got misty-eyed when I first heard it ‘cuz I knew it had to become my theme song for this next period in my life. Why? Because as adventuresome as I am in some respects (I’ll talk to just about anyone on the street or subway) I still run to my comfort zone (which is usually by the TV or literally under the comforter) when faced with challenges that present the unknown.

Admittedly, I’m one of those people who will circle ‘round and ‘round a new project or opportunity if I am not absolutely certain of the outcome. I call this kind of activity “window shopping ad nauseum” and I’m trying to break free of it. While it once served a useful function for me, it no longer has a rightful place in my life.

As Madonna says in her song, Jump:

There’s only so much you can learn in one place
The more that I wait, the more time that I waste

HERE’S SOME STUFF I SAID “YES!” TO EVEN THOUGH I WAS TERRIFIED:

Call to Adventure #1: After 12 years of living in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where I was thoroughly entrenched, I was presented with an opportunity to make two changes at one time: move to a different borough AND move in with my boyfriend.

I had never lived with a “significant other” at that point and I was shaking in my boots while riding with the movers over the Brooklyn Bridge with all my belongings. The moving guys heard the trepidation in my voice and said “Call us if it doesn’t work out!”

The Outcome: The truth? I was pretty scared the first couple of years I lived with Mike. It was a huge adjustment on all different levels. Together, over the past 4 years, we’ve built a rich, interesting life in a beautiful neighborhood and formed a web of terrific friendships with people out here. And I still remain connected with my Manhattan peeps!

Call to Adventure #2: I had been writing an email newsletter, Creative Times, for two years, and had amassed a nice-sized readership. In 2005, Mike said “You know, there’s this thing called a blog that would be a great way to get your writing out there in the world!” All I could think of is “I don’t know what a blog is and I don’t know how it works.” And then when I found out how public you go by publishing a blog, I FREAKED OUT! Now I didn’t have control over who could see my writing.

The Outcome: After a pep talk from blogging queen Louise Crawford, I decided to launch Creative Times: A Blog for Artists & Entrepreneurs. With Mike’s help, I set up the blog and mastered the technical basics of blogging. The two weeks after going “live” I had the writer’s equivalent of stage fright: I barely slept or ate.

The good news: Creative Times (the blog) has been a passport to building a community of bloggers and to meeting all kinds of interesting people, from Elmo muppeteer Kevin Clash to Twentieth Century Design Great Eva Zeisel.

Call to Adventure #3 (Hint: It Involved a Ring): Mike and I have now been together for 7 years. During the last 3 or 4 of those years, we’d have an occasional but brief conversation about getting married. From the brevity of those chats, I concluded that we were both pretty much terrified of taking that next step.

The Outcome: At the end of last month, Mike floored me with a proposal on the beach on Block Island. I was looking for little rocks and shells in the sand and he said “Look! I found a pretty rock!” The rock was a ring and I said “Yes!” Am I still scared to take the plunge? Yes, I am! But I am still going to do it because I know it will make life rich and interesting and because I get to spend the next bunch of years with my best friend!

MORE ABOUT “YES!”

· Is there a Call to Adventure that’s been knocking on your door for a while now? What is it? Write it down! Share it with someone else or with a group of folks who also want to pursue a calling!

· Where do you need to say “YES!” to in order to move your life forward and grow as a person?

· Everyone’s Hero’s Journey looks different. Everyone’s “YES!” is going to be different. One person might need to say “YES!” to making new friends or dating again. Another may need to say “YES!” to exercising more or wearing brighter colors. Still another might get to say “YES!” to performing on stage or starting a new business.

· Sometimes you need to get quiet to hear what needs saying “YES!” to.

· You might have to start saying “NO” to people or commitments in order to follow the “YES!” (For example: a mom who does everything around the house might have to get the rest of her family to pitch in so she can follow her calling to write a book.)

· After saying “YES!” you should be prepared to experience mild to extreme discomfort, challenge old (and probably outdated) beliefs and assumptions, pull in the help of friends and strangers, and forge a path into new and unimagined territory.

· Have fun, feel the fear, and let us know how it goes!

Post a Comment