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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 33: People who push you out of your comfort zone

CN Tower Edge Walk, Toronto, ON
"Just try it. Three bites."

We have a rule in my house when it comes to food--the three bite rule. If my son, Matthew, doesn't want to try something, which is rare since he'll eat almost anything, he has to try at least three bites. If he doesn't like it after three bites, he doesn't have to eat it. More often than not, however, he ends up liking it. Unfortunately for me, that has resulted in him liking oysters (raw and smoked), lobster, unagi (eel), toro (fatty tuna), Brillat-Savarin cheese and all sorts of other expensive foods. And some of my favorites.

Likewise, there have been people in my life who have pushed me to try stuff that I didn't want to try. For instance, in May, Jim decided he wanted to go on the CN Tower EdgeWalk, where they hook you up to a "human dog run" on the roof of the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower. At 121 stories in the air, it's the highest outdoor recreation activity in North America, so they claim.

Video highlights from the EdgeWalk

This wasn't really on my to-do list, but I reluctantly agreed to participate. AND I HAD SO MUCH FUN!

On a professional level, when I was at Wisconsin Public Television, I did NOT want to be in front of the camera. Even though I was the on-air fundraising producer and could do the pitches in my sleep, I had no desire to be on-camera talent. The development director at the time, Malcolm Brett (now General Manager), said that being on-air was a condition of my employment.

My first on-camera break, in August 1994, was awful. Truly, incredibly awful.

Malcolm came up to me and said, "Well, you got the kinks out. Your next break will be fine."

The "after": My national PBS gig pitching Downton Abbey
(l to r) Ken Verdoia, Bob Marty, Joe Campbell, me
And he was right. My next break, the red tally light came on and I was fine. Now, being on-air for public television and radio is second nature to me, and my favorite part of my job.

If it weren't for people like Malcolm, I never would have discovered something that makes me really happy. And something I happen to be kind of good at.

So today, I give thanks to people who pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to new things that I ended up enjoying. And most times, it didn't take more than "three bites."

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