My hands were a six on the seismic scale as I stood, naked, in front of the mumbling crowd.
But having been out of the social scene for two months while working on new projects, it felt that way.
I'd decided that the best way to dip my toe back into the water was to do a speech in front of over 500 people, including celebrities. Y'know, just to warm myself up. Because that was the rational thing to do, right?
On the count of three, I forced myself to stammer something out. And there it was. My humble sound-wave, travelling at light-speed into 500 people's eardrums:
"Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie Lennox, and I'd like to thank you all for being here today."
I'd over thought, over-analysed and obsessed over every single word of that introduction. I wrote, then deleted. Wrote, then deleted again. And still, it was terrifying. But it taught me a lot about fear and how to charge right past it.
That thing you're most scared of doing? The thing that's been keeping you up at night? It's suffocating you.
As we speak.
Stealing your creativity, potential and motivation, when you should be working with these things instead of allowing fear to drain them away. How many more things is your relationship to fear costing you, right in this moment?
You don't realise how deeply fear has imprisoned you until you try to break free.
"We are so accustomed to the comforts of 'I cannot', 'I do not want to,' and 'it is too difficult,' Pandora Poikilos once said, "that we forget to realise when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak."
The more you stall on an idea, the higher the pedestal rises and the more unobtainable it seems, but avoiding your fears will never make them any easier. Walk up with your head held high, however, and you'll see them shrink before you.
You are not weak. You have the power to carry this thing out, and you have the courage to get through.
When I used to send messages to editors and agents, I'd walk away from the computer to stop myself from sabotaging the emails. The voice in my head would hiss at me:
"OMG what did you just do? You look so desperate. Email and tell her it was a mistake!"
But still, I'd sit with the discomfort.
"She's probably opening it right now, and laughing at how much of a loser you are."
Still, I'd sit with the discomfort.
Eventually, the voice would change. It would say:
"Okay, that wasn't so bad. It's done now, I did what I could, and I'm okay with that. I can't ever say that I didn't take the opportunity. Now, on to the next thing."
Don't worry about the "no's", or the worst case scenarios, because whatever happens, you'll grow.
You'll strengthen yourself in preparation for better things to come. You'll learn something. You'll have the courage to do it again, and even better. The most important thing, always, is that you simply move past the first hurdle, because it only gets easier from there.
And don't forget to consider the alternative.
What happens if I never face up to this thing you’re scared of?
The alternative for me, if I had chosen not to stand up and share my story with that audience, was that I'd have ended up with no one to be vulnerable with - no one to laugh with, share resources, or celebrate my successes with. I might have missed the opportunity to meet the people I did, who I know will support me for life.
If I had chosen not to stand up on that day, I wouldn't have received the thunderous applause and ovation I was destined for.
Consider your alternatives - the best outcomes, and the worst - then ask yourself:
Isn't it worth the risk?Read More