I am continually amazed by my children. They love to push themselves and seem to excel in things that they do. Believe me, they are not perfect in any way. But their resilience encourages me.
Last night my 5th grade son performed the role of Captain Hook and his school’s musical Peter Pan, Jr. Around Thanksgiving when he tried out for this part, I will admit I was surprised. He has typically been very shy. But he wanted to go for it. Perhaps it was because his sister had a leading role in Shrek the Musical a couple of years ago. Regardless he went for the part he wanted and he earned it.
Last night our elementary school hosted its 36th annual Music Theater. There were a couple of hundred people in the audience. And right before the performance my son got stage fright.
My wife, the principal, his teacher, and I all talked with him. It was a combined effort of encouragement and speaking positive affirmations to him. At one point I told him, “you can do this.” And he looked at me and very emphatically said, “I don’t think I can.”
I reminded him of an incident in baseball last year where he was feeling the same thing about pitching. I reminded him that he faced that obstacle and was able to overcome it. I told him I believed he could overcome this, too. His teacher later told me that she also used baseball as a way to encourage him.
His teacher then asked him to go do his first scene. He did and performed it incredibly well – including a vocal solo. When he walked off stage he told his teacher he didn’t think he could go back and do the next scene. She said, “you’ve got to give me one more.”
He went on to his next scene. He did very well in that one. When he walked off stage he looked at his teacher and said, “I don’t think I can do another one.” She looked him straight in the eye and said, “come on, man. You’ve got to give me one more.”
The third scene he was on stage again, he did great. When he walked off stage, his teacher told me later that he looked at her and said, “I’ve got this.” He went on and had a great performance.
Capt Hook and his teacher
I am so incredibly proud of my son who faced an incredible fear – the fear of speaking in public, performing, of being vulnerable in front of people he knew and people he did not know. And yet he faced his fear, and he beat his fear.
There is a lesson in this for all of us. Personal growth comes when we face our fears head-on. When we step out on that stage and go for it. When we have mentors and coaches who encouraged us along the way. When we realize deep inside that we can do it.
What fear are you facing today? Get with your coach or mentor and let them encourage you. And then jump up on that stage and dazzle yourself and others!
You can do it!