|Kevin at 15|
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Tales of my teenage years and the mild angst I experienced seem to do well here. So here's another story from those days gone by, but hopefully with a lesson wrapped up in it too. I'd like to think my awkwardness will pave the way for some other young person to not follow in my footsteps.
Picture it, February 1989. I'm a sophomore in high school, a month away from turning 16 and getting my license. I thought having a license and a car would increase my odds at a social life and help me break out of my shell. It did not, but that's not what this story is about.
Back to that night, for some reason, I got dressed up and went to the "Heart Hop" Valentine's dance. I went alone but hung out with friends at the dance as we awkwardly would make our way to the bleachers when a slow song would start to play.
There was a girl there that I had been crushing on for some time, despite not ever once talking to her. We had mutual friends and through the course of the night, one of them informed me that she would dance with me if I asked her. I thought my heart would hop right out of my chest just thinking about asking her to dance. Even though I was given a guaranteed "yes" to my request I was still paralyzed with fear.
Then it happened, Chris De Burgh's Lady in Red started playing. I mustered up the courage and asked my crush to dance. She agreed and we moved onto the dance floor. Now for the awkward part. We didn't talk for the entire 4 minutes and 17 seconds of the song. When it was over I thanked her and we both went our own ways. We didn't speak again until we had a class together our senior year.
My apprehension to follow-up was based on fear and my belief that if she was interested, she would make the next move. I have no idea if she was or wasn't, but the lesson learned here is to not wait for the opportunity to knock. I love this quote from The Rock:
That's the case for EVERY walk of life. Whether you're a teenage boy trying to find the courage to ask out a girl or getting your career jumpstarted. For a long time, I kept waiting for news directors to call me with a job offer. I still sit and wait for WWE to stumble upon my work and call me. I know that's really not going to happen, but I think about it. More realistically I keep telling myself my blogs are going to catch someone's eye and they'll contact me with an amazing freelancing gig. I'm still not breaking out of my shell and pursuing those clients like I should be.
It's a work in progress some 28 years after that dance in the gymnasium of good ol' Northwest High School. Don't let your fear of the unknown force you out of the game completely. As Gary Vee once said, "You're better off going 1 for 5 than going 0 for 0."