There is no way I am doing that! That was my initial thought. I was in high school living in the European country of Belgium when we went to a dimly lit roller skating rink. I was there with a group of friends and parents. Skating rinks were nothing new, but this one had something different. This mountain of a ramp. At least one story high. You could slingshot down it and out onto the main floor. Why on earth would I do that? Apparently, my brain did not convey that thought down to the rest of my body in time to stop me from getting up there. I found myself at the top of ‘skate mountain’, looking down. There was no way to go back if I wanted to. My mom looked on, probably with hopes that she spoke enough French to get me to a hospital in case this didn't work out as planned.
Years later, I'm at it again. I shouldn't be surprised. This time it was a hot, summer day at a busy pool in Germany. I'm standing on the diving board a few stories high. The smell of chlorine in the water makes it all the way up to me. I was excited about jumping off...until I got to the top. Have you ever been really excited about jumping into something new, only to find yourself not sure if excitement or fear is what you're feeling? Suddenly, out of nowhere, a kid half my age bumps me out of the way as he makes his jump. Ready or not, I'm about to go over.
Yet again, I managed to find myself in an elevated place. This time, it's walking onto an empty stage. It's the Howard Theater in Washington DC. The stage maybe empty, but the audience is not. Sold out. There were over 100 sets of eyeballs and ears looking and listening. It was the second time I was able to speak at The Moth Storytelling event. An event where people tell stories based on a theme. Personal, true stories. And I began to tell a story that I had never thought I would share with anyone. Five minutes is a long time when you are opening the vault of your thoughts. All the while, hoping your story can inspire at least one person.
At each one of these points in my life, I took on an exciting, new challenge. A challenge that that, once I got there, I was no longer sure I wanted. Have you ever had doubts about the very event you had been longing to do? How did you move yourself forward? Or did you? If you didn't, here is what helped me:
o Get a Supporter
• Sometimes, you need just one person that has more faith in you to have faith in yourself
• It doesn't hurt if they also have a plan for fixing you up just in case
o Get a Kickstarter
• Sometimes, you need one person who, just when you need it, will nudge (or push unexpectedly) you to get going
o Get a Big idea
• Doing things just for you is fine
• In those moments of paralyzing fear, however, having someone or something more important than yourself may be what you need to get momentum
In each case, I went to a high place in my life that set up my potential. I just needed a spark to move from potential to reality. How are you going to release your potential?
About the Author
NICK BASKERVILLE has had the honor of serving in the United States Air Force for 10 years, followed by 4 years in the United States Air Force Reserves. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6). Nick also has 16 years of fire service time, with 13 years of that being in a career department in Northern Virginia. Nick has had the opportunity to hold positions in the Company Officer's section of the Virginia Fire Chief's Association (VFCA), The Virginia Fire Officer's Academy (VFOA) staff, and in the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) as a chapter president, a Health and Wellness committee member, and one of the IABPFF representatives to the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance.