When my 14-year-old son started high school this year, he was nervous.  He only knew a handful of kids and had no idea what to expect.  I told him to be himself and he would find his tribe.  Then he tried out for the school play.

For the last two nights I watched my quiet son act like a rambunctious elf on stage.  He was embraced by the cast of mostly older students and received countless compliments from his newfound peers.

How priceless it is to feel that you belong.  That you are validated for your efforts.  For who you are.

How fulfilling to take a chance, to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable, and then to find out it was all worthwhile in the end.

It took me a lot longer than 14 years to get to that point.

Professor and author Brené Brown said, “I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.”

What stage can we step out onto today?  How can we lean into vulnerability?  We’ll never know the treasures we’ll find unless we take that chance.  As Auggie Pullman said in the book Wonder, “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

Yours is coming.  But you have to take a chance on the role of a lifetime.  The character is your authentic self.  And your audience can’t wait to see you shine.