A Heart of Shakespeare

Register for a special offering master class on the art of decision-making, Thursday, May 28 9:30 am-5:30 pm (lunch included) to Friday, May 29 8:30 am-Noon at the Kansas Leadership Center.

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I was deep in the role of Shakespeare’s Juliet. The potion speech. Fittingly, all about deciding whether or not to take the potion the Friar has prepared for her.

What if it be a poison, which the friar

Subtly hath minister’d to have me dead,

Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour’d,

Because he married me before to Romeo?

I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,

For he hath still been tried a holy man.

I wonder now, what would Dr. McRae say about our heroine’s decision making skills?

I was 20 years old. In London for my Junior Year Abroad. I poured my soul into acting classes, voice classes, rehearsing that speech.

How if, when I am laid into the tomb,

I wake before the time that Romeo

Come to redeem me? there’s a fearful point!

Shall I not, then, be stifled in the vault,

To whose foul mouth no healthsome air breathes in,

And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?

All the while I agonized over my own decision: At the end of the year in London should I continue to study acting, preparing myself for a career about as precarious as any I could think of? Or should I abandon what I love and pursue journalism, or foreign languages, or God only knows what else. Could I be happy working in some embassy somewhere? Or would I hate myself for giving up the dream?

I threw all the pain of my own agonized indecision into that speech of Juliet’s.

Or, if I wake, shall I not be distraught,

Environed with all these hideous fears?

And, in this rage, with some great kinsman’s bone,

As with a club, dash out my desperate brains?

I too felt desperate, my own indecision every bit as life-and-death as Juliet’s.

O, look! methinks I see my cousin’s ghost

Seeking out Romeo, stay, Tybalt, stay!

Romeo, I come! this do I drink to thee.

And yet, Juliet drank. She made her decision (poor one though it was), while I continued to agonize. For the next 15 years I wavered. Pursuing acting, auditioning constantly, earning some success, but never quite enough to make the indecision go away. Never enough to say, “I’ve decided. This is the life I want, the career I will follow.”

Oh, how I’d wish Dr. Brad McRae had been around then. That I’d been able to take his Decision-making Master Class. That for a mere $300 and just a day and a half of my time, I could learn from the pros at Harvard how to make a good and lasting decision.

Perhaps there is still time. Join me. Dr. Brad, this do I drink to thee!

Register for a special offering master class on the art of decision-making, Thursday, May 28 9:30 am-5:30 pm (lunch included) to Friday, May 29 8:30 am-Noon at the Kansas Leadership Center | 325 E Douglas, Wichita, KS. Register here.