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by Darren Held

Okay, peeps, as 2011 comes to a screeching halt it’s time to reflect on our achievements of the past 12 months and ponder what we’d like to accomplish in the next 12. I don’t know about you, but I was freaking awesome in 2011!

  • I made far less money than I wanted to, and I would probably need a raise in order to reach the poverty level.
  • I sold fewer than 50 copies of my book. 99% of them were to family members.
  • I failed a non-Held2gether improv class in such spectacular fashion that the teacher told me I was a “liability to anyone who has the misfortune of being my scene partner.”

Yeah, that last one still stings a little.

But I actually wasn’t being sarcastic when I said I was freaking awesome. Delusional, perhaps, but not sarcastic. You don’t fail this big without trying some scary shit. Working for myself, publishing books, taking classes that push me way, WAY out of my comfort zone… 2011 was a year of going big and, in some cases, failing big.

You know what I learned? Failing doesn’t mean a damn thing. You don’t die. Well, usually not, anyway. You learn things about yourself, regroup, and try again. Or try something else. Somebody famous said if you haven’t failed at anything, you haven’t really tried. And I say, if you haven’t really tried, you don’t know what you’re capable of.

It’s never too late, I swear. If you don’t think you’re brave enough to really go after something, welcome to my world. I didn’t even know that was my problem when I first started taking improv classes – all I knew was my world seemed to be shrinking and I needed to push myself out of the comfort zone that had become a prison. Of course, what I discovered is that improv is both a metaphor for life and a miraculous tool for living life well, and thanks to the skills I learned and the encouragement I got in H2G classes, I became brave enough to go after stuff… and brave enough to fail. And life is so much more fun and interesting as a result.

Naturally, I hope you succeed beyond your wildest dreams in 2012. But I also hope you’re willing to fail. Happy New Year!

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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