EVERUP: What’s your biggest fear?
BLANK: Making mistakes.
How did your fear impact your profession/passion?
Since mistakes are crucial to the creative process and all positive growth, my fear was crippling. Synthesizing my passions for music, dance, spirituality and performance into a career required me to try out and mess up a lot of ideas as I figured it out. I spent much of the first few years of my career in a constant state of anxiety.
Thankfully, I’ve got pretty serious ADD and an inability to do much of anything that I’m not passionate about. So I was left with no choice but to learn how to deal with and move through those seriously uncomfortable feelings.
How did you overcome your fear?
I changed my relationship to it. Our egos (the part of our minds responsible for fear) are built to protect us and keep us safe—a mechanism which keeps us inside our comfort zones. While that strategy might sometimes prevent disaster, it also keeps us from doing anything new, interesting and beyond the confines of what we already know.
Once I recognized my fear as an alarm bell that goes off every time I do something that will probably lead to my life becoming more awesome, exciting, and expansive, I started to be able to befriend it; to see it as a signal that I’m on the right path rather than as an indication of danger.
These sweaty palms and racing heart might be temporarily uncomfortable, but the willingness to tolerate them pays off a thousandfold.
What achievement were you able to unlock thanks to overcoming your fear?
I owe all of the good things in my life to moving through fear. Throwing parties? I didn’t have a clue what I was doing those first few years. DJing? Totally freaked me out. Writing for audiences of thousands? If you could listen to the chorus of voices in my head saying,“Nobody cares what you think; Who are you to take up space in people’s inboxes?” you’d think I was insane. Speaking and singing publicly? Terrifying. Literally everything I’ve accomplished has been done in the face of it.
Is there an ongoing exercise or practice to maintain your fearlessness?
The most important thing is remembering that when it comes to being human, there’s no such thing as fearlessness. If you’re waiting to do something until you feel fearless about it, you’ll never do it. Fear is a part of life. Just like joy, sadness and love. The question is how we choose to relate to it. Here are my three step process for moving through it:
Out your fear:
When we name the big feelings swirling around inside our psyches, we lessen their power over us. For example, if I’m hesitating before having a difficult conversation with someone, I’ll begin by saying “Look, I’m totally intimidated/uncomfortable/nervous to bring this up with you, so I guess it’s important!” Letting yourself start where you are is the first step to actually starting.
See it as a good thing:
Reminding yourself that experiencing the temporary discomfort of fear will be worth it in the long run (and that your future self will thank you!) is crucial. And the more you practice this process, the more you’ll start to automatically respond to the feeling of fear with an excitement that says, “Awesome! My life’s about to get way cooler that I thought it could be.”
Find greater meaning:
If your reason for doing something fear-provoking is purely ego-based (i.e.: it’s all about you)—you’re just pitting your ego against itself. When you make your mission about something bigger—like helping other humans or healing the environment—you give it way more power, and put your self-interested ego back in its proper place (one where it doesn’t run your life).
We all already know the ultimate endgame here: we die. Our egos will never ultimately succeed in their mission to keep us safe. So we might as well have as much fun and do as much cool shit as possible while we’re here!