Is lack of courage holding you back? Where can you get courage from? How can you move forward in the face of fear?
Ultimately, you will have to summon the courage up from inside you, but it helps to have a way to get started.
This has been on my mind a lot since the death of Robin Williams. Watching him was one of the ways I got started.
From my vantage point, Robin had no fear when it came to performing in public. For whatever reason, he was propelled forward when people gathered. He brought smiles to people’s faces. He entertained. He made people feel good.
I think there are a lot of people who would like to be that way, but fear gets in the way.
I know that was the case for me for many years. I was petrified of what people would say or think about me. I was afraid of making mistakes, being rejected, embarrassing myself.
When it came down to it, I was afraid of expressing what was inside me. And here was this guy, this crazy lunatic of a comedian and actor, who went to those places many of us keep locked down as best as possible.
No, I never had dreams of being a manic comic, but I did have all kinds of other ideas and dreams bouncing around my head, perhaps like you. I just wanted to unlock myself enough to express some of them, perhaps like you. I just wanted to stop being scared long enough to see if I could actually do some of those things, perhaps like you.
This is where Robin Williams comes in.
I’ve seen a lot of his movies, but two hit me directly between the eyes: Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting. I thought they were written about me. They captured the angst, the worry, the vulnerability, the self-protection, and everything else that goes into the struggle to be oneself, the struggle to be free.
It was watching Robin instruct his students in DPS to stand on their desks and get a new view of the world and of themselves in it. It was watching Robin tell Matt Damon in Good Will that it wasn’t his fault. I watched those movies over and over.
Robin Williams is one of the major reasons I play harmonica and guitar in my presentations. He’s why I use various voices when I tell stories to audiences. He’s why I show family photos to audiences to make my point.
“Be different,” he said.
Different done sincerely and authentically can create connection, engagement, change … difference. If you have the courage to do that, you can change the world. Like Robin did.
Now, I guess it’s left to me to interpret my world and have the courage to continue to express it in my own voice.
Robin Williams gave me the courage to do that.