Outside Your Comfort Zone…

This is my friend Derrick. He serves with me in my Army Reserve unit and he’s a really Awesome guy.

As you can tell from the picture above, he’s also a really Big guy, but that’s not what makes him so remarkable. Not to me at least. It’s his courage and self confidence that impresses me the most, and not in a way that you would expect either.

You see, Derrick has a goal. And last Saturday night, in pursuit of this goal, I witnessed him do something that would scare the hell out of almost anyone, regardless how big they were. He was about to get up   in front of a rather eclectic crowd and perform while everyone in the audience judged him.

Now since I’m supposed to be writing about health and fitness stuff, you are probably  thinking he would be pursuing a career as a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or something to that effect. But you would be wrong. Although he could easily do any of those, that is not what he wants to do with his life.

He was nervous before he went up, I could tell. But he didn’t let his nerves get to to him, I mean he’s a soldier after all. He simply went up on the stage, looked into the spotlight, grabbed the microphone and said “I know what you’re thinking. I’m that bouncer from that bar who told you that one joke…”

My friend is a stand up comedian.

derrick

And he’s funny. Not just a “chuckle every now and then” funny, but “thigh slapping”, “side splitting”, “laughing so hard you almost pee your pants” funny.

I  guess what I’m trying to say is he’s really, really good. He got up on that stage that night and just slayed the audience! From his first joke to the end of his set, he had the room rolling, and he was easily the best act of the night.

This is what impresses me about the guy.  Sure he’s big and strong, and this isn’t his greatest gift. Derrick is quick-witted and intelligent. His jokes are sharp, his timing is excellent, and he doesn’t insult or make fun of anyone (maybe except for himself, just a little). You can tell he has a strong desire to see people happy and can easily make them laugh.

I find that  even though I’m probably close to thirty years older than him, I want to be more like him. Not that I want to be a stand up comic, or six and a half feet tall for that matter (although that would be nice change, coming from a guy that’s 5′ 7″). Rather, I want to have that same tenacity that he does.  To know what it is I want in life, and go after it, regardless of what people tell me I should be.

All his life, he was told he should go for a career in some obvious profession, like football, fighting or some other sport where his size would give him an advantage. But he refuses to be pigeonholed into being something he’s doesn’t want to be. And while he’s served in the Army, played football and competed in powerlifting events, that’s not where his heart lies. He would rather go after what truly makes him happy, which I find down right inspiring.

He had started doing stand up a while ago, but got away from it while he served on active duty in the Army. Now that he’s in the Reserve and back home, he’s decided to pursue his ambition once again. So that’s exactly what he’s doing, and with the support of his amazing wife, he’s knocking it out of the Park!

The biggest take-away from this is simple. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be or do just because your big, old, short, skinny, young  or any other reason whatsoever.  You, and you alone are the only person that can decide what you want to be, and no one else can change that if you decide not to let them.

We all need to be more like Derrick, and have the self confidence to believe in ourselves and trust that we can do whatever we put our minds to. Time goes by so fast, don’t waste a single minute of it believing you’re not good enough.

Me, I’ve decided that despite my age and background, I am going to be a writer, and I’m going to be in the best shape of my life by the time I’m 55. It’s hard to believe that this renewed sense of determination is all due to  going to a comedy club and watching my friend go after his dream. But that’s exactly what happened. Who finds inspiration at a comedy club? Me I guess.

In the meantime, keep your eye out for Derrick Davis. Check him out if he’s in a comedy club near you, you’ll be glad you did.

This kid’s going to the top, and I get to say I knew him before he got big!

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