Trusting Your Instincts

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 | 3 Comments

Times Square, New York

Milestones are the best.  They remind us of what we’re capable of accomplishing, of how far we’ve come, and set the stage for bolder leaps into the unknown.  March is a huge milestone for OnStage Leadership.  One year ago this month, we launched our sessions in NYC.

I remember when I traveled to NYC (referred to simply as “the city” by locals) for the first time, almost 20 years ago.  I had just finished my theatre degree and had toyed with the idea of moving to the center of where it all happens (or doesn’t) in the acting world.  I remember my heart beating so hard, when I got off the plane, that it frightened me.  I was in New York City!  Me!  This girl from Montana!  It was exciting and overwhelming and mysterious.  I felt like I had landed on a whole new planet, as nothing was familiar.   The sights, the sounds, the smells were all foreign to me.  Ultimately, back then, I decided not to move.  It didn’t feel right.  Everytime I thought about it, I felt nauseous.  I felt scared – not like a “I-might-fail” kind of scared, but like a “I-might-die” kind of scared.  While everyone around me was saying “you should do this” everything inside me was screaming, “Don’t!”.  I wouldn’t have admitted this to anyone around me back then (because of what it would mean about me), but I knew inside myself that I didn’t have the confidence, and more importantly the passion for theatre to duke it out as an actor in New York.  It didn’t feel like me.  I didn’t know that there was a different path lying in wait, I just knew something didn’t feel right.  Intuitively.

But now, as we fast-forward almost two decades, I do have the confidence in OnStage Leadership, having seen it make a difference to almost a thousand people before it hit “the city”.   And having spent the last 16 years in the classroom with leaders from around the world, I do have an intense passion for authentic leadership.  So when we moved from Dallas to NYC and I launched OnStage on March 7th, 2013, I knew I was ready.  It felt right.


Interestingly enough, on the day of our NYC “big reveal”, my heart was  beating just as hard as it did the first time I landed in the city  – but it wasn’t because I was scared.  I was excited.  Holy smokes!  I was getting to do OnStage Leadership in NYC!  What an exciting opportunity!  A visceral reminder of how much things had changed.  Confirmation that I was leaping in the right direction.

As Agnes de Mille once said, “The artist never entirely knows.  We guess.  We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

Our world is wrought with unknowns that demand that we leap every day.  Boldly.  But what I’ve learned is that there is a big difference in how it feels when we’re leaping in the direction of our purpose.  It feels right.

There are so many people out there who want to give advice.  Some of it helpful.  Some of it…not so much.  We read, and research, and try to logically wrap our heads around what we “should” do.  What we “should” think.  The direction we “should” take.  But far too often we totally disregard the greatest wisdom we have to access – the wisdom inside ourselves.  Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Anne Sexton, encourages us to “put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” – easier said than done in our cacophonous environment.

What do your insides tell you?

What do they tell you about the the person you’re interviewing for your team?  What do they tell you about the client you’re proposing to work with?  What do they tell you about the job opportunity that just popped into your email?  What do they tell you about the intentions of the person who just reached out via Linkedin?  What do they tell you about the leap you should or should not be taking?  You know more than you think you know.  InstinctivelyTrust yourself.

I’m glad I paid attention to my instincts all those years ago – I would have taken an entirely different journey.  I likely wouldn’t be the woman I am today, with the family I have today, doing what I get to do today.  Every leap takes us closer to the person we will become.

Who do you want that to be?

(Oh…by the way, what I’m doing today…getting ready for the next session of OnStage Leadership in “the city” on March 20th…wanna come?)

©OnStage Leadership, 2013;  Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share.  It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.





  1. Matt
    March 12, 2014

    I want to go 🙂

  2. Kimberly
    March 14, 2014

    It would be great fun to have you here, Matt! I’ll channel you! 🙂

  3. OnStage Leadership » Blog Archive Sincere Thanks » OnStage Leadership
    March 19, 2014

    […] out to the world that it was my “work anniversary”.  While I had recognized that we just hit a milestone in New York, and I knew that it was the anniversary for the work that I’ve been doing with SMU and for […]

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