I spent the first 2/3 of my life to date living in fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of risk. Fear of conflict. Fear of performing or speaking in public. Fear of God striking me down if I misbehaved. The list goes on an on. And, around that 2/3 mark, I noticed that those fears began to have a different taste in my mouth. They began to taste more like regret. Regret for missed opportunities. Regret for chances missed. Regret for wasted precious days of my life. You get the idea. A steady diet of fear leads to the awful aftertaste of regret. And that tastes is not easily brushed away.
In my case, I made radical changes in my life.
I started standing up for myself. I started asking questions and thinking for myself. I started taking chances and stepping out. I started performing and learning to play my songs better. At first, the results of the “new me” were not pleasant. It created conflict at work, at home, at church – just about everywhere in my life. I discovered that other people had grown accustomed to the “old me” who was sort of a doormat. He didn’t cause conflict because he gave in any time there was even a hint of conflict to come. The “old me” conditioned people around me to expect that kind of behavior from me and to take advantage of me, quite frankly.
Nuking the apple cart…
When I realized I didn’t like being that guy and started to change, it upset the apple cart. No, it nuked the apple cart. I was tempted on more than one occasion to go back to my old ways. But, I persisted. What I discovered was amazing. I lost some old “friends” who liked having a punching bag around.
But, I gained new friends who actually respected me.
Conflict at work turned into respect and a healthy new contract that was a million times better than my old one. I began to actually enjoy performing my songs and I got to travel to some amazing places to play them. I began to notice that I was starting to shape my world instead of my world shaping me. I liked myself better. I made more money. I developed healthy relationships.
The “new me” was able to quit a stable job and start chasing songwriting dreams. He helped start SongTown – something the old guy NEVER would have dreamed of. He tried new things and found some exciting things that he loved to do that had scared the pants off him before. I chased and caught many of my dreams. And, I learned to get rid of the fear and regret.
Many of you have shared with me your songwriting dreams. I won’t pretend to tell you what path to take in that pursuit, but I will tell you this. Don’t live with regret. Life’s too short. Take action. Do something. Fight the fear. Write on. MD
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Author: Marty Dodson