In my 60 plus years I have had many changes in my life. I’m sorry to say until recently, most have been carried out with a lot dread and fear. Being safe is a place all of us feel good in, doing what we know, being around people we like and trust; these are natural places for us to gravitate. But what happens when you want up your game? You must change!
The last 20 years that I have been in the media production business have steeled me when it comes change. I was 40-plus when I started my first day as a PA on set. I was in a completely new environment, new words, new timetable, new workflow. I didn’t know anything about the process, I felt like an idiot. I had that sinking pit in my stomach that said “What are you doing here?”, “These people think you’re stupid”, “You’re making a fool of yourself; they will never want you back”. Very negative, self sabotaging thoughts. The type of thoughts that send you running back to your safe zone. As time went on, of course, I learned the words, the workflow, the process. I felt OK, I was safe, I knew my job.
The self doubt started again as I moved up the ladder, the first time I worked with lighting crew, the first time someone put me on sound, the first time somebody hired me to light an interview, the first years I started my business. All ugly self doubt and loathing. The one thing in all that time I never took into account, is that I kept pushing forward. I look back now and still don’t understand what made push forward so long and so persistently. I suspect I had intuitively learned the lesson that you can’t go back.
For the last 20 years I have been pushing myself forward. Not always for the best motivations; sometimes out of anger, fear or jealousy. I have never had a guarantee of success, most of the time not knowing if what I was doing was right or wrong. Over these last years I have mellowed.
I became more used to the feeling of self doubt, not so worried what other people thought, knowing that I had overcome challenges many times before. I am often less inclined to work from negative motivations. Leading, instead of following.
This is very much in the forefront of my thoughts these days because I am starting a new phase of my career. I am creating a new intensive workshop and website on lighting and the business of media production. Of course, I’ve never done it before.
I have seen the beast raise its ugly head again, but this time it is different. I know I am going to make mistakes, I know some people will have criticisms, some valid, some not. I know I don’t have to be perfect.
I just have to look to the future and believe in myself. It seems so simple.
So as I embark on this next phase of my career, please rejoice with me if you see a mistake, I say something wrong, or do something stupid. For this reason:
BECAUSE I’M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE!
Be at peace with yourself,