You Can’t Teach Courage

My son Danny was recently on a Wipeout episode which first aired September 5, 2013 called ‘Blind Date – Even Blinder’. Watching him on TV was a thrill, and it really made me think about life and opportunity.

Danny and the Big Balls

Danny was always enamored with this show and a few years ago he said, “Mom, you should be on here!”. I was totally flattered that my teenage son had this kind of confidence in me, but I didn’t entertain this thought for even a minute. Why? Fear. Fear of failing, fear of getting hurt, fear of the unknown. Just plain, huge, debilitating, life directing fear.

His desire to be on Wipeout himself began when a friend auditioned and made it on the show. He was grinning ear to ear as he filled out his application online. He even chuckled occasionally. Lots of people make it on TV. Why not him? How can he stand out and get selected? He shared a few of his answers with me:

Question: Do you know how to swim?

Answer: I’m basically the next Michael Phelps

Question: What celebrity do people say you look like?

Answer: People say I look like Dylan and Cole Sprouse (from “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody”) or Jack McBrayer (Kenneth from “30 Rock”), but I prefer to say that I look like a combination of  Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

He answered the remaining questions in a similar manner.

When they called him a couple of months later for an audition he was really excited but nervous at the same time. A little fear crept in. His mind was racing. Did they think he was serious on his application? Do they really think he’s the next Michael Phelps? Or do they know he joked his way through and think he’s funny? If that’s the case, what if he can’t be funny in person? He drove up to Burbank between college classes for his audition. Despite his fear, he decided he needed to be memorable, so he rapped “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj. Boom, he got a call a couple months later. He was in!

It was so exciting to find out he’s a contestant on the show, but there were still 6 weeks before taping. That’s a lot of time for real fear to creep in. Since it’s the Blind Date episode, he has a partner. Couples are eliminated in each round so they both need to finish each course within a certain time or before other couples to move on. What if he’s the weak link in his duo? What if they, as a couple, don’t make the qualifier and don’t end up on the show at all after all of this? What if she quits in the middle, like people occasionally do? What if he breaks something (oh sorry, this was my fear not his). What if, what if, what if?

I think courage comes from a deep determination and passion inside. It’s stronger than fear if you want something bad enough. Fear is natural. It lurks and creeps in whenever it can. It prevents people from taking opportunities and realizing their dreams. Courage is not natural. Courage is a decision. Danny told me he decided right after the audition that if he made it on the show, he would do it, even though it seemed terrifying. The closer it got, the scarier it seemed. He said, if you get the opportunity for something like this, you HAVE to do it. You can’t count on a second chance. Wise words from a 21 year old!

He invited his friends over to view the show when it aired. More fear! How would the show portray him? Wipeout is known for making fun of the contestants, and making them look silly. Well, it was too late to worry about that now! Just being on the show was a dream come true for him.  He was beyond being embarrassed by what they might show or the comments they might make. It was time to celebrate.

Wipeout gives nicknames to all the contestants. They called him KarBASHian Danny because his ‘date’ loves Kim Kardashian. He looked and did amazing, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his Mom. It’s just a fact! They didn’t air this part on the show, but he and his partner had the 2nd fastest time in the qualifier (which is the 1st set of obstacles). They moved on to the second round.

This is Danny after breezing through Round 2. So exciting!

Karbashian Danny - Triumph

He waited in anticipation. Would his partner make it too?

Karbashian Danny waiting

It was certainly a nail biter and I’m sad to say that she didn’t make it in time. The Karbashians were eliminated after this round but It was very exciting to watch!

This whole experience that my son had was a wonderful example to me. He found his passion, he squashed the fear, he dug up the courage and as a result had an amazing experience to remember forever.

How many opportunities have I, or you, passed up because fear crept in? What if we don’t allow “what ifs” into our lives. “What ifs” fuel fear. They stifle individuality. They hinder success.

Moving forward I am very inspired to act on opportunities that fuel my passion, no matter how scary, and I plan to dig deep for the courage to make them real.

Thank you Karbashian Danny for the inspiration. Well done!

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