Focus: This audio podcast includes inspirational quotations, war stories, examples, a little philosophy and some practical challenges to help individuals and teams push through fear and grow stronger.
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Transcript of this audio, originally published on March 22, 2009:
Do one thing every day that scares you.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
“Always, always, always, always, always do what you are afraid to do... Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain... Do the thing and you will have the power.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I was 15 years old, I loved to sing. I sang mostly in the shower, really belting out the lyrics to rock and roll songs. The bigger the shower, the better the echo, and the louder I sang. One night after basketball practice, I was alone in the school's shower and really wailing. As I finished my shower and my song, I grabbed my towel and turned to leave and saw one of the seniors standing there smiling at me. I knew this guy. Everybody knew this guy. He was the lead guitar player in a popular local band. And he informed me that he really liked my voice and wanted to know if I'd consider singing with his band. Consider?! Well I jumped at the chance. Nervous, but enthusiastic, I attended a few rehearsals at his house and discovered that I really loved singing amplified and surrounded by all that rock & roll thunder. Eventually, during one of those rehearsals, it dawned on me. This was the real deal! Someday soon I'd have to do this in front of a crowd! If I stopped to think about this for long, my heart would start racing and I'd feel like running away and hiding. But I loved the music and I kept on rehearsing and pushed those thoughts out of my mind.
Inevitably, a couple of weeks passed and I found myself walking on stage in front of my first big crowd. I had sweaty, cold palms and I was terrified. My heart was in my throat and I could feel all the lyrics just leaving my brain entirely. And again, I felt like running and hiding! But, ready or not, the band started playing, people started dancing, and I somehow started singing on cue and the energy of it all just began to flow. For the next several years my singing skills grew, I learned to play bass guitar, the band played a wide variety of venues where we met all sorts of people, and I became completely comfortable in front of crowds. Whole new worlds were opened up to me... and I wasn't even out of high school!
As the years pass and I face even more frightening challenges, I realize that I've come to regard fear as a doorway. You can't really see everything that's on the other side, but if you ignore your sweaty palms, gather your courage and step through, you almost always enter another dimension in your life. A dimension in which you are stronger than you were in the one you left behind.