Here are a few things that you probably have already gathered about me (boat loads of blogs later) …
- I cackle
- I prefer to come after humanity’s dark side with a flashlight and sense of humor
- I am The Handel Method’s first guinea pig (besides my mom)
- I don’t lie
- I can be a brat about going to the doctor, cleaning my house, and watching children (other than my own) in a school recital
- My inner chicken likes to gnaw on my outer-cuticles
Okay, perhaps #6 is the most noteworthy of late. Let’s address both the good news and bad news about what my gnawed fingers signify.
Bad news first. You see, when I’m up to big (read: scary) things in my life—namely, going in the public eye—I chew on my cuticles. It doesn’t matter how many impressive, huge, and imposing humans I have coached one-on-one in the past 20 years—when it comes to going LIVE in front of a camera, in front of millions, fear gets the best (or bites) of me.
Seems, in the face of fear, I don’t cackle (see: #1). Instead, I cluck.
Now, the good news. I DO know in order to realize my own dream to help heal the planet and make coaching accessible to everyone, I have to face my fears and grow up about them. And if publishing a book weren’t public enough for my inner chicken to give a cluck about—try filming a Public Television show to support said book …
However, as the method’s long-haired guinea pig (see: #3), I figured I might as well use my fear for the greater good and learn everything I need to about it in order to, at the very least, let the decimation of my cuticles and the disapproving looks I get from all manicurists serve a higher purpose.
Here are a few things I’ve discovered about the voice of fear:
The voice of fear has a PhD from Harvard. Hell, it’s even got tenure. It can recount every (and I mean every) last mistake you and I have EVER made. For me, my PhD started re-playing embarrassing and terrifying clips from my past like the first time I was called on to read out loud in camp while I was sitting next to my boyfriend’s mother, to the dread I felt taking the SATs, to the time (10 years ago!) when I auditioned for a TV pilot and felt like I was from a different planet than the other experts. And, even though these may not be similar to the clips from your life that your fear replays, I promise you have your pocketed version.
Curiously, fear also has bouts of amnesia. It has zero recollection whatsoever of how proud you were every time you stepped up, stared down the fear, and won.
In my case, it doesn’t care that I’ve actually done countless media interviews, had several TV appearances (and survived), and even did a Tedx Talk. My fear wants to get me back in the house, coaching from my couch, and painting. Its ONLY concern is getting me the heck off of a stage, particularly one with three cameras in my face and a teleprompter.
Yes. I said teleprompter.
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But, not to worry. Fear’s got my back (and frontal lobe). So much so, it reminds me how I’ve NEVER been good at reading, let alone publicly, let alone with cameras on me, let alone when I care more than EVER and it matters to my company and crusade. Fear asks me, “Who do you think you are? Sure, you’re good one-on-one, but in front of millions? You think you can read that thing while it’s moving (!), not get car sick, and really look like you’re not reading? Much less laugh and have fun and be present?
No matter how many times I personally have kicked ass in the past (even as long ago as yesterday), it doesn’t matter to my fear. Those times (and there are many), weigh much less than the failures. In fact, it’s pretty impressive how fear, the tenured doctor, gets away with its rejiggering of the past, but it does.
This experience left me wondering what we’re supposed to do in the face of a tenured fear. Lord knows, for Pete’s Public Television’s sake, I needed to figure fear out.
So, besides wondering, I got writing. As you know, we love to rate things here at Handel. Having a scale is valuable because you can then create your 8, 9, and 10. Whenever I have something to figure out, I do a scale. In this case I imagined what a FEARLESS state would look like and wrote out my FEAR SCALE from 1-10, with a 1 being deer in the headlights, fingers in face fearFULL and a 10 being as close to fearless as I could muster.
As you’re reading my fear scale, don’t forget to connect the dots for yourself. What would your scale say? What does your fear look like, feel like, when it comes to your career, your love life, or your family?
See what you think:
1: You’re kidding me, right? This has got to be some bad karmic joke. Who am I kidding. I’ll never get this. Who else can I get to do this? I certainly can’t. I’m not good enough. Ugh. My fingers are bleeding.
2: How’s my hair? How’s my makeup? I’m scared I look fat and old. Oh, I suck at this. I’m just going to hide here, coach and chew my nails.
3: Nope. Baby Lauren still can’t read. I don’t want to practice. There, was that good?
4: I could do better. Fine. I’ll even practice a bit more. I’m improving, but not nearly fast enough. Still eating my fingers.
5: I start to let David (my husband) pull the fingers from my mouth. I show people my fingers and take my fear a little less seriously. OK, now I’m really trying to practice. OK I’m gonna sneak in just one more chew.
6: OK. I don’t totally suck.
7: Keep practicing. I’m getting better! Don’t tell anyone I’m having fun.
8: I’m actually good! I had fun! Look, there’s an actual nail growing back. Thank God, I broke through.
9: OMG, I’m doing it. I’m so excited. I did it. Yay me.
10: I’m bringing the fun. It was meant to be. I know I rocked it. I always rocked it.
You see? Once I could state where I was exactly on my fear scale—i.e., when the teleprompter came out, I definitely was about a 3 or 4—I was no longer in default mode about it. I was back in charge of who I wanted to be in the face of it and in the face of the moving screen. Clearly, I could see I had to grow up about my dreams, put my big girl panties on, and even have a ball.
But even though I’d stopped chewing my nails, something was still gnawing at me. All that fear … what was it about? The answer is ugly. Have you figured it out yet?
My fear was all about me. What’s everyone gonna think of me. Yuck! And with that less than lovely news, I had my big revelation. I knew what was missing. It ALL needed to be about love. So with that news flash, I felt a huge sense of relief. You see, when you’re in a state of love, it’s all about the purpose, the fun, the being present, the others. And with that insight, I had an even deeper one—fear and love both don’t exist at the same time. When it was about others and what was possible, Fear PhD took a permanent sabbatical.
Can you connect the dots? Can you see how your fear is all about you? Think about it. When you’re scared, what’s your head saying to you? Aren’t you being mean and mocking about yourself? Can you see the potential when you make it about others? What could change in the world if you were really willing to wholeHEARTedly tell your chicken to cluck off for good?
Let’s do this.
Get a list of the Maybe It’s You public television special air dates and times for June here.