Have you ever thought about doing something you feel passionate about, but in the end you were too afraid to follow through and do it? Most likely, we can all answer that question with a resounding, "Yes!" There is a little annoying voice inside us that starts nagging away, telling us about all the reasons we shouldn't try something, and all of the things that could go wrong. Fear is horrible, and it is both a thief and a liar. Call me a redhead, but when that little voice starts talking to me and messing with my head, putting butterflies in my stomach, and encouraging me to doubt myself, I want to give a challenge right back!
Why am I talking about fear? Ah, well a few weeks ago, Phil Kaila, the fabulous salsa instructor of the dance class I attend weekly in Lytham St Annes, announced a musical event called, "Our Big Gig" taking place across the UK in July. This event, which began in 2008 as Bandstand Marathon, was started in an attempt to encourage communities to become more involved in music of all genres.
Stacey Louise Leadbetter and Phil Kaila at Our Big Gig, Preston, doing a bit of salsa in the break!
Somehow, I got talked into participating. I have sung in public before, but I haven't done it for quite a few years. At first I thought, well, it could be a fun and low-key way to get involved in music-making again, why not! After a couple of weeks passed, however, and the actual date of the audition loomed, Fear came calling!
Eeeek! What were you thinking?!?
The inner voices of my fear shouted loudly, everything from "You're too old!" to "You really don't sing all that well!" and "Do you really want to embarrass yourself?" Apparently, I DO! I must admit that I had opportunities to back out gracefully, but in the end I decided to go ahead and sing. I determined that I had to outwit Fear, jump in the ring with it, look it dead in the eyes, and wrestle it to the ground!
Then I remembered that Fear only has power over me if I let it. I answered back every question tossed at me, with the very worst I could imagine happening. Guess what? None of the things I imagined seemed a big deal at the end of the day. I could slip and fall on my way to the stage, start off in the wrong key, my voice could crack, I could miss my cue in the beginning of my track...oh, wait, heh-heh-heh, I did do that! That's right, I missed my cue, so I asked the audio guy to stop the track and start it again, no big deal!
Photo by Keith Byers
The end result? You can judge for yourself if you are brave enough to sit through this video taken on my smartphone by the lovely Jackie Hulme. For me, it was a fun night of hearing some really nice people share their musical talents! Yes, there were three judges listening too, but thankfully none like Simon Cowell! Thank you to two of my salsa dancing buddies, Jackie Hulme and Russell McChlery for driving me to the contest so I could focus on swatting away my remaining nervous butterflies! It was great to have two friendly faces in the crowd!
Is there a moral to this post? Not really, I'm only saying if there is something you are really passionate about, give it your very best effort before deciding to call it a day. I have a very talented friend who is just about to publish her first book this month. She once told me that if she had shared with family and friends that she was thinking of writing a book, they probably would have tried to discourage her from pursuing a potentially pointless effort. Realising this, she wisely decided to keep the idea a secret long enough to do her research, test the market, and share some of her writing with publishers. I guarantee you that no one's laughing now!
As for me, being here on the Fylde Coast of Lancashire is a dream come true, but not everyone thought it wise for me to attempt to make this leap across the pond. It is a huge risk and in the end, I made that decision on my own. I may still not be successful in the eyes of some, but that is okay with me. I am enjoying doing something I am passionate about and being part of this wonderful community!
What are your fears? I'd love some comments from you about times you have faced fear in different situations.
See you next Saturday (promise!)
Have a great week!
Shanon Leigh, aka "Red"