From Fear to Flourish is the name of a new series of posts which will be part of this site. I hope that you enjoy reading about setting goals, changing things up and taking a chance by doing things differently. Last week I announced this new series and now I'm excited to start gathering up real people's real-life stories about how they went from fearing something, to flourishing in the face of it.
While I'm in the process of outlining the submission guidelines, please read on for a personal example of what the series will look like. And remember: if you would like to share your story, please get in touch and I'll get you the details as soon as they are available.
From Fear to Flourish: One Creative's Journey
One time I was scared of:
When I was young, I loved to perform: plays, skits, musical numbers--it was a bit of an obsession. When I got to middle school though, like so many other kids, I became too self-conscious to do this anymore. Once I stopped "putting myself out there," the fear of being in front of others grew worse. As a teen I would still have very small parts in drama productions and loved singing, but many times my voice would be wobbling, my knees literally shaking, my lips and voice trembling. This continued into adulthood. Oh, but then I had the added pleasure of breaking out in a rash due to nervousness.
What was that like?
In a word: awful! I hated it because inside I knew I wanted to connect with an audience, even if only a small one, in a meaningful way. But I avoided this at all costs.
Why did you decide to tackle this particular fear?
It wasn't so much a decision as a way that things worked out. I was asked to teach a teen Sunday School class at church. My gut reaction? No way! But I said yes and amazing things started happening.
How did you do that?
I came to understand that teaching is very different than performing. I was able to interact with the students and got to like them. Plus, I was so interested in what they were learning and in how to present it in a non-stiff, un-stuffy way, that I got really into the information and got excited about sharing ideas with them, and listening to their ideas and questions.
Was there a particular person and/or resource that helped you in the process?
What was the result?
From the experience, I became really passionate about teaching. I wondered if there would be anyone interested in learning about writing and publishing, from someone "in the trenches." I created a class curriculum and launched my own writing classes. I offered Freelance Writing 101, in which I helped students learn the in's and out's of starting a part-time or full-time gig as a freelance journalist.
And I offered "Writing and Publishing Your First Book," where I showed other writers some practical, hand's on steps they could take to publish their first book. In fact, much of that information has been expanded in The 15-Minute Novelist: How to Write Your First Book in Just 15 Minutes a Day
Any wise or encouraging words you'd like to share that I haven't asked you about?
In order to successfully conquer a fear, you need a passion that's stronger. I'm terrified of sharks, for instance, but have no desire to prove myself through swimming with them. But connecting with others, performing and teaching and reaching an audience--that desire was ultimately stronger than my fear.
I suggest a list (cause I love lists!) of all the things you're afraid of. Then make a list of dreams that you have, the things you want to do before you die.
Look for opposing facts: for instance: "I want to travel to Europe" and "I'm terrified of planes." Those areas which "share space" are where you might want to focus your energy.
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