If you don’t know fear, you will never know fearlessness.
Lately I have been having small waves of fear about my upcoming speaking engagements. I am slightly inexperienced at this and the thought of organizing all of these thoughts and topics seems daunting. Part of me easily holds this fear at bay and part of me struggles to not become a slave to it.
I will do the talks to the best of my ability. I will work toward making my ideas presentable and clear, but until I start writing things down and organizing, I remain in a paralytic limbo. It is almost as if the fear keeps me from getting started and yet I know taking action will solve the problem.
I know I am getting closer to what I am meant to be doing because these feelings are aroused in me. Every time I have reached into the unknown, said yes whether I knew i could or not, accepted a mission with blind trust, or booked a concert of very difficult music, this feeling slightly tugged me under but didn’t drown me.
I know it as a part of me that really cares and it has helped create another part of me that is fearless.
If I avoid the fear, then I never learn what it is to overcome it.
Much of the anxiety is over a non existent built up pie in the sky nightmare scene generally rooted in what other people think of me. Once through the other side, I see its irrelevance and am more able to ignore the shenanigans of the boogie monsters and things that go bump in the night.
My accumulated experience allows me to remember that it is lock down in the future that holds me prisoner. I know from overcoming previous fear that it is part of the game and not to be taken seriously.
If not, I cannot move forward. I would become paralyzed worrying about what might or might not happen. This would then feed the inertia that kept me from taking any risk.
In hindsight, I only wish that I had had more courage or perhaps foolishness as a twenty something year old. The risk takers feel fear but they do it anyway.
What is this quality in me that goes forward despite fear?
What is it that pushes me through the fire?
There must be a drive stronger than the fear and an awareness that my trepidation is unfounded. The only way I have gotten stronger is by experiencing this over and over so I have the power to detach and not identify with the insecure part.
Of course with age comes the ability to care less about what others think and a desperation to it get done.
When I look back at my life, playing prominent concerts in Europe, reaching out to top world renowned musicians with whom to collaborate, booking gigs and not knowing how in the world I was going to get it done in time, I realize I am a risk taker. Every result of taking those risks whether it was success or failure has made me understand the illusory nature of fear.
It is something that still creeps up like a nagging old beggar knocking at my door.
But now, I greet the beggar, “Hey I know you. I remember you, come sit at my table and have a good meal so you don’t have to linger like a needy dog. Let me see your fear and hear your concerns and know that you are the visitor that comes around when I am on the threshold of a new dawn, a breakthrough and I welcome you. Every time you visit I know I am on the brink of the precipice of my own growth.”
And so, fear has become an old friend that doesn’t have the power to consume me like he used to. He is still by my side and with a wink and a nod, I simply step around and go on my merry way.
How do you experience fear?
What keeps you going in the face of fear?
Do you get paralyzed and feel like you can’t go forward because of fear?
I would love to hear your thoughts.