I have a confession to make.
Sometimes, before a gig, I play a song for myself on the way, to get my mind right for the work at hand.
I do this because I often (still - after 11 years in business) feel inadequate. This light won’t be right. My settings will be off. The subject(s) will not be into it and fluid. I won’t capture what the client hopes to see.
This is 100% completely and totally all in my head.
Lies. All lies.
The anxiety I feel is also a lie. I know this because once I am on site and ready to shoot, it instantaneously melts away. Confidence blooms and surrounds me.
I let myself relax and love the client, just as they are, in the hollow of my heart.
They have no idea the range of emotions and sentiments I feel swirling within me.
I have a convincing professional veneer. I’m funny. I put them at ease, even as I am putting myself at ease.
Several years ago, I picked up a book on the advice of my therapist - Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph. D. You can get your own copy here.
That book helped me in very practical and tangible ways. We were renting a house in North Bossier with an in-ground swimming pool. I was terrified of the deep end but so wanted to be able to jump in and swim without hindrance. I had read about the children in Shreveport that drowned trying to save each other at a family gathering on the Red River. Gut-wrenching. I had a two year old at the time and wanted to be able to do what was necessary should he ever go into the water and need my help, need saving like those precious little children.
I thought I would be able to jump in easily if I could just not feel fearful about it.
I was wrong.
I did not have to wait for fear to subside. I couldn’t wait for fear to subside. I had to jump in to kill fear. I had to jump in in spite of fear. I had to feel the fear and jump in anyway.
This is how I approach demanding tasks to this very day. It’s okay to be afraid. Everyone’s afraid of something. And I know myself and how brave I can be. How brave I have been. Fear would no longer be the liar that kept me trembling on the edge of the deep end. Fear will not keep me from meeting the challenges of my career. Fear will not hamper my growth and make me stagnant. It may raise my heart rate. It may need a song to soothe its sting. But it cannot keep me from the joy of daring.
What does the “deep end” look like for you? What challenges have you left unmet for fear of failure? How do you summon the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway?