I wish I could have been a musician and songwriter.
Rather, I wish I would have at least given it a shot.
I’m under no delusion that I would have had a chance to make it. Statistically, the odds were not in my favor. No, I wish I would have given it a shot to have learned how to take a chance on myself earlier in life.
Was I a great musician? Not exactly, but I mistook skill for connection. There were signs, glimmers, that my creativity was connecting with people…at least enough to consider, “hmmm, maybe this is something I’m good at and enjoy, so why not give it and myself a shot.”
But I didn’t.
I don’t regret it. What’s done is done. The past is only a teacher to learn from. I see it as a story on a continuum of a challenge I’ve tried to overcome my entire life.
I’m a people pleaser. It’s a strength in many situations but a source of fear in others. In my musician quest it became a source of fear. Because that journey went against the American-dream narrative. It didn’t conform to the story of success I’d grown up around. I wasn’t confident enough to own my divergent journey and push back against the prevailing narrative.
I avoided the risk and stayed the safe path of approval.
Twenty years later, this continues to be a challenge the universe puts before me. But, time has gifted me more of these experiences. With a larger data set, I’ve had many pivotal moments where I owned my journey and pushed through the fear of what others thought.
It’s never easy. But there’s a gift of deeper self-awareness that comes from overcoming fears.
I’ve become more attuned to this fear.
I have a rule for this fear that’s served me well to combat this fear:
When trying to decide between which path to take, the one I consider rejecting because I fear what others will think of me for taking that path is often the right choice.
Lean into your fear. It has something to teach you that avoiding it cannot.