Be Not Afraid

Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.

American actor and musician, Jack Lemmon was born on this day in 1925 (died 2001).

Lemmon was an eight time Academy Award nominee with two wins for Best Supporting Actor in Mister Roberts (1955) and Best Actor for Save the Tiger (1973).

Fear can be paralyzing.

I have a terrible fear of heights. Never mind that it’s totally irrational and that I “know” I can’t fall. That doesn’t matter.

True story. In college we had to build our theater sets up from the floor of the gym. We usually had about two weeks to do that. My junior year I was cast as one of the woodcutters in Blood Wedding. Our set (beautiful by the way) was built up from the floor to resemble a mountain with a cave entrance. Across the top of the mountain was a ramp that served as a path, as a roadway, and as an entrance. As we were building the set, I knew that I had at least one scene where, along with a partner I had to carry a stretcher with a “body” across the top.

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So, about halfway through the build process, knowing my fears and knowing that the director had encouraged us to get used to the set, I walked to the top of the uncompleted ramp.

And, there I froze.

Seriously, I could not move.

I managed after a few minutes to sit down and slide down the ramp on my behind.

Don’t get me started about the time I had to be escorted out of the St. Louis Arch.

It wasn’t really the fear of failure that paralyzed me in either of those cases. I knew that I was safe.

But sometimes in life, we miss out because we’re afraid we’ll fail.

“I’m afraid I she won’t like me.”

She may not, but how will you ever know?

“I’m afraid I won’t get that promotion.”

Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for it.

“I’m afraid I won’t get the part.”

I can promise you, I’m still going to audition.

Life is not all fun and games.

It’s hard. Sometimes it sucks.

Without providing details, we’ve got some particularly sucky parts of that life going on right now.

It’s all okay. Just a pain in the behind.

And, there’s some really good stuff going on as well.

For instance, our youngest turns eighteen on Sunday. He’ll be graduating with honors this spring and has a bright future ahead.

And we’re doing some great theater stuff.

It’s all good…most of the time.

But we still have to face the sucky parts.

And sometimes that involves fear.

They say that bravery is not the absence of fear, but doing what scares you anyway.

We also celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday this month. Lincoln said:

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.

It’s about doing what is right.

It’s about doing what we know we were placed here to do.

We can’t be afraid that we’ll fail. If we are, then we’re almost bound to do so.

Whatever it is you’re facing, don’t let the fear of failure paralyze you.

I understand that’s easier to say than to do. I’m right there with you.

I’ll hold your hand if you’ll hold mine.

Within reason, of course.

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