Did you watch The Wiz Live on NBC Thursday night?
I certainly did. I mean, hello, I took three hours of choir my senior year of high school. Of course I'm the kind of person who is going to watch a live televised broadcast of a musical.
If you didn't see it and you're totally unfamiliar with the premise of the show, The Wiz is basically a way more fun retelling of The Wizard of Oz. So everyone you know is there -- Dorothy, Toto, The Scarecrow, etc. -- except the music is better and it typically features an all-black cast in a modern-day setting and it's EVERYTHING.
Anyway, on Thursday night, as I was watching this magic unfold on my television, I was struck by a piece of dialogue between Dorothy's squad. As you know, in the story, The Scarecrow, The Tinman, and The Cowardly Lion are all in search of different things which they hope to receive from The Wizard (a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively). When they first meet up with The Cowardly Lion, played to perfection by David Alan Grier, Scarecrow and Tinman try to console him. Here's what they say (by the way, I'm paraphrasing):
Scarecrow: Well, at least you have a brain.
Tinman: And a heart.
And here's the line that got me --
Lion: What's the use of either of those things if I don't have the courage to use them?
BLAM-O, David Alan Grier! That is some profound stuff right there.
What's the point of a brain or a heart without the ability to use them? What's the point of brilliant, out-of-this-world, clever ideas? What's the point of intense passion, care, and drive?
Without courage, seriously, what's the point?
Perhaps The Lion's words resonate with you too. Maybe you know what it's like to sit on a goal or an idea because you're too terrified to even start. Maybe you know what it's like to see something in the world that you think you can change but you feel too stuck to do anything about it.
That feeling is fear. And fear can be a sinister thing. It's not just something reserved for cowardly lions or losers. Fear is something that grips each and everyone one of us at one point or another. Some of the best, most talented people I know struggle with it on an almost daily basis.
That's because these people are LOGICAL. Fear is something that makes total sense. Of course, it's reasonable to be nervous to put yourself out there. Of course, it's understandable to be terrified of rejection or freaked out because you have no clue how to even begin. These things are hella scary.
And by the way, not all fear is evil. Sometimes it's incredibly useful. Fear is the thing that keeps us from taking unnecessary risks like jumping into shark tanks or hurling ourselves out of moving vehicles just for the hell of it.
But beyond those basic self-preservation measures, fear can be paralyzing. Fear can keep you from taking steps forward, big or small. It can hold you in place, making you feel utterly and miserably stuck.
And not only that, but fear has this uncanny ability of masquerading as completely different entities, usually things like busyness ("I'm just too busy to start a book right now.") or pride ("I'm way too cool to start a blog.") or perfectionism ("If it can't be perfect, why bother?").
But deep down, you know it, I know it -- our busyness, our pride, our perfectionism -- it's all just fear dressed up in different hats.
So what do we do about this manipulative, shape-shifting, powerful force in our lives?
Well, if you're the Cowardly Lion, you go see the Wizard, and then she (in this production of The Wiz, the Wizard was played by Queen Latifa) tells you to go murder a witch and then you do but then you realize that the Wizard is actually a fraud BUT yadda yadda yadda she tells you that you've had courage inside of you all along and then, you know, you're cured, I guess. The end.
But if you're a human, the process is a bit different. You first have to unmask your fear, take off it's silly hat and say, "AHA! I see you! I know what you're up to!" And even when it refuses to leave your side and it pops out at you during the most vulnerable moments of your day, you must make the deliberate decision to keep trucking. That's what courage is all about: being scared to death but doing it anyway.
And with courage comes really great things. With courage, you've got access to your brilliant brain and your soft, caring heart, and suddenly fear doesn't hold you back like it once did. Instead, it becomes somewhat of a guide. Oh, I'm scared to do this? Then I better go ahead and do it.
Fear is always the precursor to really great creative work. I really believe that. But it's also the very thing that holds a lot of creatives back from even getting started.
Sometimes, though, all it takes is a nudge -- one little something to help you see your fear for what it is so that you can start to move beyond it.
That's why this Friday, I'm going to be hosting a FREE webinar aaaallll about fear.
At 1 PM ET, I will be live talking about the 5 most prevalent, most awful fears that plague creatives. Here's what you'll get:
- Knowledge that you are not alone. There are others struggling in the exact same way that you are.
- Strategies for moving past your fear and using it as a guide for your creative work
- A chance to ask your burning questions about confidence & creativity
- A super special offer juuuuuuuust for you
I'll be doing all the heavy-lifting here. You don't even have to wear pants or brush your hair. Just show up with questions, if you've got 'em, or with nothing but your eyes and ears.
Ready to figure out how to kick your fear square in it's lying mouth-hole? Sign up for the webinar below!