This picture of me above is not the most glamorous, yet it’s my favorite.
Let me explain.
All my life I’ve been terrified of sharks. Truly terrified.
My fears grew so big that I became unable to go in the ocean, in lakes, and finally, I couldn’t even go into swimming pools. Seriously!
I know that sharks don’t live in swimming pools but this is how irrational my fears became.
This photograph was taken in Capetown – right after I finished a shark dive.
That’s right, I decided to face my greatest fear head-on and allow myself to be plunged into shark-infested waters.
Was I scared?
Hell yes! There were great white sharks circling my cage! I was so petrified that my teeth literally chattered.
When this picture was snapped, I had just emerged from the water. I felt absolutely triumphant. I had faced my greatest fear.
And from that moment on, I knew that I could do anything.
But what does fear have to do with artists and achievement?
I’ve worked with other artists throughout my career and let me assure you, fear is epidemic. It stops even the most talented.
And more than fear is overwhelm, the feeling of being stopped by external circumstances.
It was a spiritual teacher who taught me that when you’re stuck or unsure, the best thing you can do to shift that energy is to do something that scares you.
And it works!
After my shark dive, not only was I no longer afraid to swim in the ocean but the rest of my life blossomed as well.
My creative output expanded, opportunities exploded.
I’d been playing around with the idea of The Working Artist for a few years, but now it finally began to gain serious traction.
The point is that instead of feeling frustrated by my dreams, I suddenly became unstoppable.
What’s your greatest fear?
You see, I believe that if you can conquer an irrational fear, or even a rational one, you push the boundaries of who you are.
You break-through the inner blocks and the stuck-ness that often traps you and keeps you from attaining your deepest wishes.
Self-help guru Tony Robbins says that the purpose of your dreams isn’t really to achieve that dream. The purpose of your dream is to develop into the person you imagine you’ll be once you attain it.
Try it out. Imagine a dream or goal you hold close.
Now imagine who you’ll be once you’re there. What does it feel like?
That, that feeling, that’s what you want to aim for. And one of the best ways I know to fast track it is to do something that scares you.
No, you don’t need to jump into shark-infested waters.
But you do need to stretch yourself.
Are you shy? Challenge yourself to go to an art opening and initiate at least three conversations.
Are you afraid of heights? Jump on a ferris wheel.
Feel the victory!
Stop putting your energy into what you don’t have, what you’re not doing.
Instead, step into your next self, really experience it, even celebrate it. And show The Universe that you’re ready.
Listen, the world is full of sharks. It’s full of those things that threaten to hurt you or even swallow you whole.
But trust me, once you look a shark in the eye you’ll find that it’s not so scary after all.
So dive in, the water’s warm!