I heard a story about a musician landing a gig as a co-host on a radio station. He had been looking for a new and fun challenge: as a musician, this gig fits him perfectly. His co-hosts have been asking him to bring his music in to play on the show. What’s great about this is that the musician has decades of music to share. Well, he hasn’t brought in any of his music, and here are the reasons given as to why: “My music isn’t ready” “The music is not where I need it to be” “There are some things I want to change before I play it.” I listened to the story to only listen and not talk. But I asked if he would be willing to play a sample of one song to get the audience primed to hear more. I heard all the same reasons, only with different words, but with the same conclusion: a musician who is letting fear keep him from putting his art into the world.
Why do I tell this story? Because people are letting fear rob them of being who they are in full, and it makes me sad. So, let’s address a few things. Fear is not the problem and has never been a problem. It’s an emotion just like anger, sadness, and frustration, none of which are bad. It’s what we do with those emotions that makes the difference. When we start giving fear control, it starts to show up in sneaky ways. Have you ever said things like “My work isn’t really done,” “I don’t know if I’m ready,” “It’s not the right time,” “I don’t have things in place,” or “I’m a perfectionist?” All those phrases and the various versions of them sprout from the same root: Fear. There is nothing wrong with admitting you are feeling afraid. The issue is not with your product, service, or art piece. You are afraid of judgment! Honestly, some of us have gone through enough life challenges where we should be at the point of having no more fucks or shits given about what people think.
I talk to fear. When I’m about to upload a new design or call a potential business contact, I acknowledge fear. I say, “Ok, I see you today, but I don’t need you.” It’s a simple tactic that works every time. When you can own your true feelings, that’s when fear lifts, loosens its grip, and takes a back seat.