At the time of this writing I’m on day 249 of Firsts and my life has changed. I have changed. I have tackled crazy things like eating a scorpion, riding a mechanical bull, zip lining, smoking a cigar. I’ve done things that made me feel uncomfortable: spend a day in a wheelchair, go up to a complete stranger on the street and start a conversation, sing in front of hundreds of people. Friends, family and blog fans have shared their passions with me: telling a good joke, making homemade pasta, skate boarding.
Today I’m completely comfortable with learning new technology. I’ve dived into social media. I facebook with the best and I tweet every day. I’ve learned to shoot and edit videos for my blog. I’m now open, not closed, to all the changes in my business. I found myself incorporating what I learned through my personal blog into my work. I found new ways to promote and market stories I was working on. I no longer ask the interns to do web work for me. If I don’t know how to do something, I’m much more confident in figuring it out or asking for help.
I volunteered at work to do more things that were outside of my normal sphere. As a result I’m working on an entertainment show, anchoring more and being asked to work on a new show. Through an intern I made a connection with a local college that’s asked me to teach an investigative reporting class to grad students. I’m moderating a panel at a statewide conference on reinventing yourself.
What I’ve really learned is, if you’re stuck, nothing changes until you change. You have to change what you’re doing. You have to get outside the box you’re in, see yourself differently for something different to happen. You don’t necessarily need to know where you’re headed, just light a fire under yourself and move toward something that gives you that tingle; that excited but a little scared feeling. Start small. Take one step, then another. It will feel uncomfortable at first. It should. It’s new.
When you start to do things outside your normal realm your friends may think it’s crazy but they’ll be intrigued too. You’d be surprised how you’ll inspire them and you’ll be rewarded by what they share with you. Being open to expanding your social network online and in real life will expand and reinvigorate your life too.
People ask me now, what’s your favorite “First”? It’s funny. The firsts I love the best are not necessarily the big adventure things like repelling, or the race car driving. I love the thrills of those firsts but I’m more interested in the ones that surprise me like taking a golf lesson. I thought I’d hate it. I loved it. I can’t draw but I was so calm and happy in a drawing class with a nude model. Go figure. I made a lifetime memory slugging through a 10K mud run for MS. Going through 26 obstacles in the mud was crazy but the best part was meeting and joining a fantastic team of young women who pulled me through it. I like the experiences that make me say “ahhh, I’ll be back for seconds”, like rowing on the river.
But my absolute favorite was the day I walked up to an older gentleman I didn’t know sitting on a park bench and started to talk to him. I thought he was homeless. He wasn’t. He was just sad and alone. He ended up telling me his wife just died from breast cancer. I told him I was a breast cancer survivor. We talked about his life and it turned out he’d been a business man, travelled around the world but now he felt lost. We had a personal sweet conversation.
When I finally started to leave he asked “how did you pick me? How did you pick me to talk to?”
I said, “I don’t know. I just did.”