Ever have one of those times when something you’ve been worried about for a long time gets melted away in a moment?
In my case, it was yesterday, in the meat section of the Food Lion.
It was there that I received a call from my youngest son. He went to an audition and it went really well. Since he’s an actor, that shouldn’t be surprising, but he’s an actor who was struggling a bit with fear. As a result, he had taken a break from auditioning and, consequently, his dream.
His job, essentially, is to go to into a room, stand in front of people he doesn’t know, sing 16 bars, maybe read and dance. And in that short amount of time, he has to convey who he is and why he is good for whatever it is they are casting.
Oh, and he may be competing with hundreds of other people for the same job.
As a 22-year-old, I don’t think I could have done it. But he did and it went well. Whether he gets the part is immaterial. He busted through everything that’s been holding him back over the past year. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him as happy as he was on that call. He rediscovered his dream and, consequently, himself.
Fear of failure. How many dreams has it killed? How many people has it stopped in its tracks? How many gifts have we not experienced because people were afraid of how they would be received? How many innovations? How many paintings? How much music and art have we missed out on because of the inventor’s, artist’s, or inventor’s fear of failure?
It’s scary putting yourself out there. People judge, talk and criticize. But honestly? They are going to do that anyway. Those who do are usually not so comfortable in their own skin so they take their frustrations out on people who are willing to take risks, solely because they are not willing to put that same skin in the game.
Here’s the thing. If you try, you can’t fail. Even if things don’t work out the way you want them to, you learn something through the process. You meet people who can help you along your way. You gain knowledge and confidence that you did not have going in.
My son, at 22, battled his way through fear to put himself out there. We’ll see if he gets the part but honestly, he got something way more valuable. He got himself back. And he will be one of those artists whose gifts will be shared with everyone.
What gifts are you holding that need to be shared? How can you work through the fear that may be holding you back? Please don’t hold your gifts, share them. Our gifts bring joy. And in a world already riddled with fear, any shot of joy we can get helps tip the scales.