As a performer and a self-employed person, fear has been a part of my life for a while now. Not real fear you understand. Real fear, I imagine, is being on the front line just about to go over the edge, or being on a plane that goes out of control, or being in any situation that provides you with every right to be very scared indeed. No, I’m on about the fear that is shared by most of us in our society. More of a phobia than a fear because of its irrationality. But fear is quicker to write so we’ll stay with that.
It’s a fear that can stop us dead in our tracks. It can stop us from committing to something or somebody we truly love. It can kill our dreams dead in a second and it can prevent us being truly successful. It can cause us to throw away once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and stifle our experiences. Even though we all know that we only have a short time on this earth (ridiculously short as I seem to be physically ageing by the day), it can still make us balls it up and look back on our lives with regret. The cruel joke is that it seems to have very little consequence when it happens. It’s a heart-stopping fear of nothing. It keeps us up at night sweating and dreading the onset of sunrise. And when, god forbid, what we are scared of actually happens, we look around a little bemused and wonder what all the fuss was about.
What I am writing about of course is our old friend fear of failure.
As a street performer and now more often a close-up and stage performer, people mistakenly think of me, and many others of my ilk, as not having this fear. We regularly put ourselves on stage and seem to be pretty relaxed about it all, but this is the big con. This of course is the act. In fact, the reason many of us take to the stage is because of some level of insecurity or fear (but that’s for another time and another post). I’m not saying that I’m not happy on stage. In fact, when I’m on stage, going well, there is no feeling like it. It’s the other times when the fear sets in. Ask my wife Mandy what I’m like to live with before a big show.
Here is the stuff that regularly keeps me up at night (excluding the important stuff like the day to day worry of fatherhood.)
-forgetting a routine
-getting a trick wrong or exposing the method
-looking amateurish in front of those who expect more
-drying up and not having anything to say
-looking amateurish in front of those who have paid for a professional
-not achieving my full potential ( a biggie at the moment ).
-not fulfilling my ongoing projects
-being unnoticed (pathetic I know)
-not being able to pay the mortgage
-dying before I have read all the books, seen all the films and been to all the places in the world that I want to.
-never getting my house finished and having to do DIY for years.
..the list goes on.
To many of you, this will be familiar.
We all have different challenges and fears, and I strongly believe that if we can get a handle on these fears we can achieve real success in our lives. There have been opportunities I have thrown away and projects I have abandoned which would have been utterly worthwhile, and maybe even life-changing, had I not got scared and bailed. Creeping up to forty I am now at the point where I no longer have the time to get scared. If I want to achieve my goals and dreams, I need to get onto it now. So it’s time to go a little further out of my comfort zone and we’ll see what the outcome will be. I am currently fascinated by what we can achieve if we just keep pushing thought the fear, so I’ll keep you posted.
Until then, if you are anything like me, this may be helpful
Thanks for reading