We’re always told to be confident. To be brave. That we should not be afraid, that we should put ourselves forward. And I agree in some respects, you, me, anyone in general should put ourselves forward for things –after all if we don’t who will? You cannot sit back and wait for new opportunities to be handed to you; you’ve got to take them for yourself.
But in other ways I disagree completely. If we are always completely confident, sure of the outcome – surely that is because we are not trying anything new. Being afraid is not something to be ashamed of, it is not something to deny; it is a sign that you are pushing yourself (or being pushed) out of your comfort zone.
You are taking a risk, unaware of the outcome. Whatever you do that scares you might turn out to be bloody brilliant. You might wonder why you have never done it before. It just may, make you a millionaire.
Alternatively, it could leave you battered and bruised, maybe literally, maybe metaphorically. You may kick yourself for doing it but when all is said and done you had the courage to do it. You know you can survive a presentation at work going horribly wrong. You know a romantic gesture being rejected is something you can eventually get over. Once the wounds have healed, and you no longer feel like the world and his wife is talking about it; you know that the next time you face a similar challenge you’ll get through it. And probably do it better.
There have been many a times in my current job, and in other roles my soul has been in knots as I have marched down the corridor to present a new piece of work. I used to hate the feeling. I’d tell myself I was being ridiculous; I knew I had proof-read the document until I was near blindness. But I would still be slightly nervous, slightly afraid.
Now I relish that feeling. Because it means I am doing something new, I am pushing the boundaries both in the sense of what I am producing but also in terms of my skill set. There is a famous quote that recommends doing one thing a day that scares you. If there ever was advice to live by, that is it.
Do something new. Do something you may fail at. It can be massive or as small as confronting a spider… as long as it scares you. If you are a secret artist, show someone your work. Do it not to be brave, but to be afraid; do it to push yourself.
If Beyoncé feels so nervous about preforming she has had to create a alter ego, and yet has become one of the biggest stars of all time; I am sure you can be afraid and still kick ass too.