Scared? Do the damned cartwheel.

Ever have to kill time waiting for a connecting flight with a little person in tow? If so, I'm sure you realize that this isn't always among life's easiest assignments.

And so it was...

I'm at the Denver International Airport the other day, with a little person in tow.

A little person who really, really, REALLY didn't feel like waiting around for our connecting flight to visit family. We'd already done the tram ride, and the iPhone games and the 3-D geometric coloring book (that I'd just paid freaking 7 bucks for two hours earlier).

But we still had a little more time before our next flight. And so I did the very most obvious thing I could think to do.

Right there. At the gate (I swear it was not that crowded)...

I challenged her to a cartwheel contest.

She actually didn't think I'd do it. My kid, it seems, has arrived at the "be scared of what people might think of you" age way, wayyyy earlier than I'd ever have suspected she would (My God... she's MY kid! How could this happen!)

And so you might imagine her initial horror when her GROWN UP MOM busted out a cartwheel right there in the middle of Denver International Airport.

But you know what?

No one freaked out. Not one.

Several smiled.

One even smiled really big. (I liked him the best.)

And it was admittedly rather exhilirating.

And once my little person saw that the world would not come tumbling down if we both did cartwheels in the middle of Denver International Airport? She did one, too.

She did like 20 of them, in fact. And a few handstands, just to shake things up a bit.

And it was fun.

And we felt good. And confident. And capable. And happy.

In life, folks...

We're conditioned to worry about what might happen if we decide to launch a cartwheel in the middle of a crowd of strangers. Even if it's a small crowd. Even if we know in our hearts that we'd appreciate it some other person threw caution to the wind and did something spontaneous and a tiny bit daring.

And this is a mighty big problem.

It's a mighty big problem for many of us. It's an especially big problem for job seekers.

Because, you see, when you let fear of what people might think or do if you dare zig when most everyone else zags get in the way?

You behave in ways that are not genuine.

You make decisions that relegate you to the pile of "everybody else."

You get lost in the sea of safe and gray.

And that's a shame.

So next time you've got to keep a kid entertained for another hour at Denver International Airport ...  

... or next time you are feeling scared to be genuine, daring and let the world see what you're all about?

Do the damned cartwheel.

Because the world needs (way) more of you, and hiring managers across the land will thank you.

Photo: Flickr.com Creative Commons (Daxko)