"Sometimes fear does not subside and you must do it afraid." -Elisabeth Elliot
It's Saturday evening as I write this and I just arrived home from a piano recital. (Yes, I am 22 and just had a piano recital, HA!) Now to give you some context, I started playing piano a year ago for my dad. He bought us a piano when I was younger and none of us learned, so I decided it was going to be my New Years resolution. And if you know me, when I set my mind to something, you better believe I am going to accomplish it, or at least try to accomplish it.
This past year every Friday morning at 8 am I have had a piano lesson. Bright and early I would wake up to get an hour of piano in before work. And much to my surprise, I came to love it. There have been months where I practiced more than others, but I found that like anything in life the more work you put into it, the better you get at it. So, I practiced as much as I could in my spare time. It sounds funny, but it amazes me the sound that my fingers can make. How learning a run and chords can make the song sound so beautiful. And most of all, I have loved what a challenge it has been both physically and mentally. To me, learning the piano was a terrifying thought, which is exactly why I chose to do it.
Now, fast forward to today, my piano recital. I was playing Amazing Grace and all throughout the week I felt super confident, until today. This morning as I was practicing I could just tell I was off. Maybe it was nerves, maybe I was not rehearsed enough, I am not quite sure what it was, but I just didn't feel super confident about the song. I have a pretty good memory so it was unusual that I couldn't remember runs and was messing up on the easiest parts. Thus, I was pretty anxious about the recital.
Fast forward to arriving at the recital. Now, picture this with me. I am in a church full of families with children 15 and under, seriously no one except a 41 year old woman was there to play. These children all have years of experience under their belt, recitals they have played at, school talent shows and so on. My hands immediately got sweaty, my heart racing and I must have looked like I was going to pass out because my mom kept saying to me, "breathe." Let's just say, I was a hot mess. I end up playing my song and about half way through, I blank. Like completely freeze. So, I restart the song, and AGAIN I freeze. My nightmare was coming true. Not only was it embarrassing enough to get up in front of everybody and announce that I was 22 and playing a song after the 4 year old because everyone else there was better than me. (HA!) But to then mess of TWICE, I mean for a perfectionist this was a nightmare scenario. I end up playing the song pretty well the third time through with only a few mess ups, but oh well!
Now, keep in mind this happened about two hours ago so I am writing this in part to hopefully give someone encouragement, as well as really just to vent. I was sitting there feeling pretty dumb. How did I mess up that bad. Then about half way through the recital a 14 year old boy, who is incredible I might add, got up there and did the same thing. He messed up twice and ended up playing perfectly on his third try. As the recital continued many others did the same thing, making me feel a lot better. (I know, it is sad I felt better when others messed up, but I will be honest and say it did, human nature I guess) Then, the last boy goes. Now I had never heard this young boy play, but I had heard my piano teacher rave about him. And I mean RAVE. So, I was super excited to hear him play. Then, it happened, he messed up TOO. Now, in all fairness, my piano piece was about 2 minutes and his was some hard Star Wars song that he memorized that was played at an incredible speed for about 7 minutes, but same thing right. :) In that moment, I felt for him. He was the last to go and I am sure he felt awful. Everyone was there waiting to see him play and he messed up. He handled it really well, picked up where he left on and played the end of the song to near perfection.
Now, as I was sitting there, I chuckled to myself at first how I put way too much pressure on myself for a silly recital. My mom said it best to me that no one expects perfection. How could we, nothing and no one is perfect in life. Even the best piano players, like the young boy that messed up, are going to have their off moments, their moments of weakness and so on. However, the thing that shows the most courage is putting yourself in situations where you are scared. Where you have maximum fear, your heart racing and you do it anyway.
For me, this is something I am really big on. I purposefully put myself in positions where I am really fearful. From skydiving to hikes with huge drop offs (terrified of heights), moving to LA at 18 alone and starting a company (terrified of failure), and most recently a piano recital (major perfectionist). We all have our own fear, but I was reminded today that what makes like worth living is facing that fear. It's not letting your life be defined by it. To go to the piano recital, try and fail and yet keep trying until you conquer it.
I guarantee that young boy was disappointed in his performance, as I was, but what we remember most is not the mess up, but when he conquered his fear. That to me shows great character.
While driving home this quote I posted on Soul Honey's account a while back kept playing in my mind. "Sometimes fear does not subside and you must do it afraid."
So, if you get anything from this rant of mine, I hope it is that we should face our fear. To push our comfort zone, big or small.
I absolutely never want my life to be defined by fear and my hope is that you choose to live that same way. Great reward can come from the most uncomfortable of situations. And it really just makes life more fun!
And as I write this, I keep thinking of my biggest fear. That crippling, nightmare, cold sweats fear I have.... SHARKS. Thinking I should go cage diving, what do you think?
Push your fear aside. Piano recital or cage diving, just do it!
Have a great weekend.
Founder and CEO - Soul Honey