Discovering life beyond the barbell / by Dana McMahan

Be audacious

If there’s one thing I’m sure of in life it’s that nothing comes to those that sit around and wait.Going for something may not mean you’ll get it, but you’ve certainly got a lot better chance than if you do nothing.

It can be scary, going for something. Especially something big. In a lot of ways. You wonder if you can do it. You wonder if other people are thinking “who does she think she is, anyway?” But if that stops you, then you probably weren’t going to get whatever you’re striving for anyway.

Audacious may be scary, but it’s a lot more fun. A lot more exciting. And a lot more gratifying than wondering, “what if I had tried?” Being audacious means no excuses. You’ll never fail if you don’t attempt. So it can be tempting to never try.

I tried something pretty audacious tonight. And I was flat terrified. I’m trying to make something happen, and though I have a pretty good history of making things happen when I want them badly enough, this one took new reserves of guts.

I need a video for this particular project, so I hired a very talented and creative young filmmaker, wrote — for the first time — a script (and my eternal thanks go to my friends who read it and gave constructive feedback),  sat in a makeup chair for over an hour, then pulled up a seat, killed a bourbon and ginger, and faced the camera.

Directly addressing a camera ranks right up there with getting under the bar for a max attempt. My heart raced and my insides quivered, but I had to stay calm (or at least project non-psychotic enthusiasm anyway), remember what I wanted to say, smile while saying it, and not do any of the million things you can do to flub up on film.

Then I got to do some fun stuff — stop in some restaurants, try some food, and hit my old gym, where I thought it would be a good idea to climb a rope for the video. I have climbed a rope exactly once, well over a year ago. I had no idea if I could still do it. And it was a very long rope. The ceiling looked very far away.

Despite the best instruction from the super helpful coach working at the time, I could not get the hang of positioning my feet correctly. Which meant I had to haul myself up hand over hand, using nothing but my upper body. I knew I wouldn’t have it in me to do two takes, so I had to do it in this one attempt. I couldn’t even worry about what I looked like or how red my face must be. I just kept reaching and hoisting myself up way up that rope, which went even further than it looked from the ground. And I did it. I didn’t touch the ceiling, but the difference in when I did it a year ago and now is I can judge my strength reserves better now, and I knew if I made the one more reach it would take to summit that I would have trouble getting down. The last thing I need is to crash to the floor so I scrambled down, exhilarated and grinning ear to ear.

I can climb the rope. I can make a video.

I can be audacious.

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2 responses

  1. yeah dana! i haven’t climbed a rope since elementary school. seems like a daunting task, good work!

    May 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm

  2. Paul

    Great gym!!! You should join!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

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