To fear is to be human.
To be consumed by fear is to fail.
As much as I believe these two statements, I struggle to find the middle ground I long for, the safety zone, between these two hard places.
If fear is to be a companion for the rest of our life, is there a way to befriend it? A way to no longer waste precious time and energy denying it or running from it?
This morning, I envisioned an image: What if we could use our fears to our benefit? For example, what if we could pit them against each other like boxers and let them fight it out until the better fear wins?
Let me explain with an example from my world:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that actors hate to audition. It is an unnecessary evil about as far removed from the actual art itself as one can get. We are storytellers who long to immerse ourselves in the process, creation, and articulation of scripts. We love to grow and build "organically" (our buzz word! :) with a team of people over time. Singing 16 bars of a song, or performing a one-minute monologue out of context on the fly does not serve the larger story--sometimes accompanied by the click of a stopwatch to make sure we perform within the time restrictions. It simply feeds our fears and nourishes our nerves.
And yet, with no audition, there will be no story to bring to life.
A catch 22.
A few years ago, the news of an audition would momentarily paralyze me. My stomach would drop ten feet below my body and my palms would create an ocean. I would flinch every time the phone rang—what if it was my agent announcing an audition?! And then I would proceed to dread the audition, losing sleep, and MY MIND, until after the whole affair was over.
I would find excuses not to go.
I would avoid the very thing that would open doors to my heart’s desire.
And then one day, it hit me: my fear of never performing again was greater than my fear of failing at auditions.
And so, I go. I scour Backstage and Equity Auditions daily. Not because I love tearing my heart open for people who don’t know me and won’t cast me because of my height or my hair color.
I go because I fear living a life void of what sets me on fire.
This principle must be true for you, too, right?
Let us commit together to our greater fear beating our lesser ones.
So it key to be consumed by the right fears.
Because one day, our fear of failure will be overcome by our fear of remaining where we are.
And we've just pulled a jedi mind trick on those pesky fears. And Yoda would be proud. Very proud.