Bursting with Potential: Let yourself out of the cage

Years ago, long before I ever wrote a book or worked as a coach, I shared a summer home with twelve people at a beautiful place by the sea.  I had ended a relationship, was feeling a bit heart-broken, and wanted to rest and have a little fun.  My friend Julie and I decided to throw caution to the wind and share this home with ten other people we didn’t know.  It turned out to be one of the best summers of my life.

We cooked meals together, sang and danced during clean up, spent long hours engaged in philosophical conversations, and enjoyed even more hours hanging together at the beach.

One roommate, Ken, worked as an IT manager for a company in Boston yet, it took very little time to see that he harbored a passion for writing and improvisational acting.  He was gut-busting funny, smart beyond words, and quick, quick, quick on his feet.  Ken provided a good amount of entertainment that summer and, by the end, I secretly hoped that one day, he’d do something more with his gifts.  You could feel potential bursting from his pores.

Cut to the present.  I hadn’t seen Ken in years, when I received an email from Julie telling me that he was performing a one-man show in the Boston area.  Seems Ken had been laid off from his job after nineteen years and, as a result, created a show about the pain and possibility of loss.  I couldn’t get tickets fast enough.

Last month Michael and I went to the show.  Using a series of vignettes that included a variety of wild and wonderful characters, Ken skillfully moved through the rage, the fear, the hope, and the longing of an unlived life.  By stepping out and taking a risk, he’s challenging the status quo – the decision to play it safe by choosing a “responsible” career based on the expectations of others.  And it’s working.  He’s happy and scared and unsure of what’s next, but he’s beaming with realized potential.

Are you?

Ken’s doing another show on Friday, February 18th in Brookline, MA at the Puppet Showplace Theater and we’ll be attending again with a bunch of friends.  The show’s that good.  If you’re in the area and want more info, click here.  Bravo, Ken!

Take Action Challenge

Think about your life and where you might be playing it safe or living by someone else’s rules.  Then, this week, do something to step outside of the norm.  Remember, one small step can change the course of your life.

This week’s video is moving and beautiful.  If you haven’t seen an Ashes and Snow video, you’re in for a treat.  You’ll find it here.  Thanks, Lokita!

Hay House, Inc.


zorro 7th February 2011 9:00 pm


I love the story about your IT manger friend, Ken. This takes a lot of courage...what he is doing, revealing his talents and true self in what for some could be a stressfull, and challenging time that could choke-off creativity, if fear were to triumph. And to me, a story is worth a thousand words to describe the energies of this time! It is a snap-shot into the heart of what is happening right now. Thank-you for sharing this. The video is real treat, just as you said and touched me deeply, even though I cannot describe it. It is beyond being analyzed. It is HEART communication. Again, a picture is worth a thousand words. You are a love!


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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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