Friday, May 11, 2012

Practice, push and teeter on insanity

Photographer Rich Seeley took this picture of me taking a picture of his picture.
What did you do this week to push yourself out of your comfort zone and into that wild, uncomfortable, exhausting yet exhilarating little nook where you grow?

Maybe it is bad advice (the kind that will make my poor daughter grow up into a neurotic, workaholic, quasi-masochist like most journalists I know), but I fear comfort. Sure, I know that Sunday is the holy rest day, and I like to take a breath in between laps. But the second I feel my metaphoric car moving into auto-drive, I shift up and hit the gas.

Because when we are not challenged, we are not paying attention. And I believe that our ability to derive pleasure from any aspect of our life is directly connected to how present we are in that experience. Loathe boredom! It will ultimately kill you. As my dad says, "The day we stop learning is the day we start dying."

I'm feeling alive.

Yesterday was one of the biggest growth leaps that I've had on the job in years. I pushed myself, practiced my new reporting techniques and covered so much ground that it teetered on insanity.

In one work day, I talked to a wildlife photographer about wildebeests in Africa, explored downtown Louisville, drove across the county to the top of Sunshine Canyon and sat by a mountain-top pool, I learned about mobile tanning salons and ventured into a dark room in the basement of an old house in Longmont where a floral designer was making corsages faster than I could follow her. I witnessed a busy flower shop behind the scenes and Tweeted and Storified it live. I made multiple videos, must've asked 1,000 questions and I even sort of remembered to eat lunch.

Compare this to sitting in the newsroom making three phone calls on the headset and typing up a story under a soulless strip of fluorescent lights.

Yes, it was harder. It was uncomfortable. But not only do I have a long list of stories that are better for my effort, but I also have some pretty interesting memories of my own to keep. And that gives me great pleasure.

Not to mention, this was my mobile office for a while yesterday.

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