Something I am learning: If you wait until you have no feelings of fear and everything is perfect before you do something your heart has been longing to do, you will never do it.
Do not mistake faith for a feeling. Faith is about trusting in God's infinite ability to act on your behalf. His word over your life or the one thing you are aiming to do is sure. He does not fail.
Yes, prepare. Yes, be excellent. But then do.
Sometimes we stay in that place of preparation too long. God said to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). Courage is acting or moving forward in the face of fear. The more you step out despite fear, the more you build confidence. But don't count on not feeling butterflies or your heart racing just a bit. I think that those feelings keep us aware of our frailty and God's sovereignty. Sure, I think you should stomp fear under your foot, but also it should be the footstool that propels you forward in the confidence that God will secure you in what He has called and purposed you to do.
I do most things with butterflies in my stomach.
I have been singing in front of audiences most of my life. I have also taught classes or led meetings. I even talk to strangers and interact with people on a regular basis. But every time I sing, speak, teach, or have to strike up a conversation with a stranger, I feel a little something tugging in my spirit saying, "You need God. You need God. You can't do it without Him." At least that's how I hear it. :) So I press in and pray, "Lord, lead me, guide me, strengthen me, hide me."
People who know me are surprised when I say I still get nervous. I even get nervous when I click "publish" on my blog posts. I'm thinking about that right now while I am writing this. I thought about that yesterday when I posted YouTube videos of me singing. I often ask myself, "Why in the world did I do that? What the HECK was I thinking?" But I do it. I don't know who these people are who don't ever feel this feeling, but I bless them. That is not my story. And you know what? I am thankful for my story. I am thankful that for me it heightens my awareness of my need for God.
Listen, I am hoping I can do things with zero fear, but I am not 100 percent sure that God will wipe that away. You have to understand also that I pray for boldness. I pray for courage. God gives them to me, and I have just what I need to walk onto a stage, publish a blog post, teach a class, pray for a stranger, propose a new idea, or call a popular author. Yes, author-and-writer people scare me sometimes, but I bet you wouldn't know that from our talks. Muhahahaha! No seriously, it's my faith in God, not in myself, that propels me forward.
I want to encourage you to stop saying, "I'll do this when..." "I can't do this because..." "Or I'll wait 'til this or that is perfect..." That is all fear. Get what you need to get in place:
professional head shots
a list of contacts or potential supporters
a 100-word bio
a rough outline for that book burning inside of you
a one sheet
a skeletal outline for a speech
your elevator pitch
a demo of you singing, speaking, or whatever you do
a mission statement and vision for a business idea
Get ready in the off season, so that when the shot goes off, you can say yes--and even say it scared.
DO NOT GO FOR PERFECTION.
Perfectionism is based in a fear of success, fear of failure, and fear of what other people think. It will hold you back! Yes, it needs to be right. But more than right, let it be from the heart. Perfection is sterile. Excellence is driven by a deep heart passion. Perfection puts people off. Excellence draws people in.
Perfection says, "No one can never live up to this." Excellence says, "There is room for everyone to be great in their own way."
Stop questioning what has been in your soul to do all these years. It's been hanging around waiting for you to do something productive with it. Move forward and get it done from the place you are right now.
I receive proposals from potential authors that say, "I plan to start a blog," "I plan to get speaking engagements at this place or with this organization," "I plan to reach out to this person for support," "I plan to start a Facebook group." My thought, "Why aren't these things done?" Your stuff needs to be on my desk after these things are done.
What I am saying is be ready to say yes and say it. Eliminate your reasons for saying no or putting things off indefinitely, and actually do what you've been planning to do. Do not expect the feelings of anxiety, fear, or reservation to go away first. You have to act first, then let your feelings resolve later. And maybe they won't, but by the time you've done what you needed to do and released it to the world, it's too late to pull it back in!
Eleanor Roosevelt says, "Do one thing every day that scares you."
Imagine how much you'd accomplish and how big your comfort zone would stretch if you took this advice.
What are you waiting for?
For more than fifteen years, Jevon Bolden has served in various editorial roles for both Christian and mainstream traditional publishers—from copyeditor to senior acquisitions editor. At Charisma House Book Group, Jevon served as senior acquisitions editor, managing the company’s front list for its integrative health imprint, Siloam. For more than 12 years, Jevon worked with New York Times and CBA best-selling authors such as Don Colbert, Cherie Calbom (aka The Juice Lady), John Eckhardt, Cindy Trimm, Michelle McClain-Walters, David Ireland, R. T. Kendall, and more. Jevon contributed outstanding content and provided irreplaceable editorial and acquisitions skills that positioned the company for growth long after her departure. In her next adventure, Jevon served as senior editor for Scholastic Book Fairs book imprint, Tangerine Press. Joining their innovative and energetic team, she hit the ground running cultivating a stunning list of nonfiction children’s books, activity kits, stationery, and schools supplies. Working with brands such as Hasbro, Nickelodeon, Disney, Lucas Films, Moose Toys, and more, Jevon worked to aim the imprints’ content at the center of every reluctant child reader’s heart and interests, helping to fulfill Scholastic’s mission of creating lifelong readers. Now leading her own publishing consulting firm, Embolden Media Group, she remains an essential editorial partner, ghostwriter, writing coach, publishing consultant, and now literary agent for a number of ABA and CBA best-selling authors, while she and her team provide custom editorial and publishing services to independent authors around the world.
A special thanks to Jevon Bolden for sharing her insight on how she moves courageously in the face of fear! You can learn more about her company Embolden Media here.
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