Let’s say you want to get something done.
Fear can either kill your project or kick it into gear.
But what effect it has largely depends on how you view it.
Some fear is healthy. Standing on the ledge of a building might invoke the kind of fear that is razor sharp and puts all of you senses on overdrive. That kind of fear – the fear of survival – can be a healthy and reasonable fear.
The other fear – the fear of failure or the fear of the unknown – can kill you. Fear of failure can kill your dreams and sap whatever inertia you might have built up in seeing your project to fruition.
Failing to do anything is infinitely worse than failing to succeed.
When I moved to NY, I left a secure gig and a lot of leads for future work, but I left because my wife was already living there there and that was the priority.
In the middle of a particularly arduous moment in the relocation, my dear friend Lulu offered me the best advice I’d ever gotten. “Embrace the scariness. It will keep you sharp. And once you are here, work will come.” And even when the work didn’t come right away I didn’t die. Life moved on and I moved with it.
Here’s a hard fought lesson about fear. That moment when you feel the all embracing fear and you’re wondering if you’re going to be able to do the project should be when you know you’re on the right track.
It’s the moment when you realize that you’re going to commit to doing something. Sometimes you have to take a leap even if that means you’ll be forced to sink or swim (and nothing wakes a person up more quickly than choking on a mouthful of water).
Just remember that no matter what you’re working on you’re probably not going to die. Learn to identify your fear and head it off at the pass.
As a big bandleader once said, “A musician is not like a fine cheese or wine. They don’t get better just sitting around. They get sh*ty and stale.”
If you’re scared, it means your probably about to make a change. Embrace the scariness and repeat often.
As always, thanks for reading!