When I was six, Dori Hechtman dared me to climb up the outside of her life size wooden playhouse and stand on the roof. I looked doubtful and so she said, I double dare you.
Now, as a kid raised in Jersey City, I knew one thing – say no to a dare in front of Dori and the other kids on my block, and I’m labeled a chicken. Walk away from a double dare, and I’ll never live it down.
I climbed and climbed and climbed. I sat on the rooftop. Just like Snoopy. And, I’ve used the power of the dare to motivate myself ever since.
When the going gets rough, I dare myself to just do it.
Like when I was a college freshman. I was standing on line at the cafeteria and it dawned on me I wasn’t comfortable making small talk. I dared myself to start speaking to the person ahead of me and behind me. And, I still do that some Wed mornings here!
My field, public relations, requires a crazy amount of cold calls to reporters and producers. My colleagues often admit they hate it. They avoid doing it. They said I seemed to do it effortlessly. It’s true, I do love cold calling. What they didn’t know was that I’d often have to dare myself to pick up that phone and start dialing.
Actually that’s how I applied to this chapter. Once I learned my seat was available, it took me over a week to get up the courage to apply. I did it with a dare and a double dare.
Sometimes I use an image. In the summer, I’m a lap swimmer in an Olympic-sized salt water pool that’s usually freezing. I used to stare into the depths of that pool and resist diving in. Last summer, I dared myself to stop looking and just jump. And so I use that metaphor these days. I see myself diving and I take action.
Some call this dare tactic similar to the 4-second rule. Those 4 seconds give you a chance to breathe and then to take sober action. For cerebral people like me, it means stop thinking, start doing.
So for those of you in this room who tend to spend too much time on your phones – I’m helping you out here Matt – I dare you to not look at your phone.
And for those who are feeling insecure or anxious, I dare you to know you’re qualified and be your personal best.
I dare each of you to try something new, think BIG, write down your goals, book that holiday, make a difference in a person’s life. A client of mine told me she learned something new every two years and became really good at it. The last time we talked, she was learning to play pool.
As Seneca, the Roman philosopher is credited with saying, “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
I dare you to be daring. I double dare you to have a powerful meeting. Thanks for listening.