I’ll always regret not seizing the moment in the 1980s. Seeing the lead singer of my favorite band, REM, alone on a Manhattan street, and not approaching him. I chickened out. I could have met my idol, had a chat, maybe even gotten an autograph, but none of that happened. “Michael Stipe is a rock star,” I thought, “he doesn’t want to be bothered.” My teenaged brain, full of worry and uncertainty, said “Don’t do it!” 4 decades later, I still feel badly about letting fear and insecurity get in my way.

I share that story because it’s a good reminder to just do the thing! Over the years, I’ve been talking back to that annoying naysayer in my head. I’m saying, “yes,” and “go for it” these days and it’s given me some positive experiences I might not have had otherwise.

Case in point: this weekend in Toronto where I attended a training conference for Rotary members. 400 of us gathered from all over the Northeast USA and Canada. One of the featured speakers was a woman who is a celebrity in the Rotary world. Jennifer Jones made history as the world’s first woman president of Rotary International. Well, as luck would have it, we were in the restroom at the same time! As she was fixing an issue with her beautiful high heels, I seized the quiet moment to say hello and thank her for the wonderful, inspirational work she did in her year as president. We had a lovely chat and even shared a hug and a selfie!

Two blonde woman huddle close to camera and smile for selfie.

Lisa Leonard with Rotary celebrity, Jennifer Jones

What If I Did Nothing?

What turned out to be the highlight of my conference never would have happened had I not gotten the courage to say, “hello.” I’m grateful that I’ve become braver and bolder over the years. That spirit is helping me now in the VoiceOver business when competition is fierce and older voices like mine are not as in-demand as they used to be. I’m bravely setting out into the world of social media marketing and sharing my new commercial VoiceOver demo with voice buyers.

It’s still a bit uncomfortable and I admit, sometimes thoughts like, “Nah, they’re busy, don’t bother them” rear their ugly heads.  But with recent POSITIVE experiences validating my choices to “go for it,” I’m determined to keep seizing the moments.

Has stepping out of your comfort zone helped you in business?  Or life?  Please share in the Comments.