Facing Challenges: Confronting Identity Fears


Every year we face different obstacles and challenges. Some are the product of outside powers and some are the results of our own individuality. Obstacles easily lead to fears. When there are fears about or identity that we refuse to face, big problems are the result. However, facing identity fears creates pathways for growth.

Have you faced fears about who you are? I do continually. Here’s my story.

Building community is not only my biggest passion, it’s also what I’ve built my brand around. Yet I find myself facing some internal fears with community building that has kept me from moving forward for some time. I’ve avoided talking about it. However, I do know that (for me) the best way to overcome fears is to face them head on, so I want to tell you a little about this.

I don’t know everything about community building

It took me a long time to admit that. It doesn’t take long to read that sentence, but it does take a long time for some things to sink in.

The fear I have is not that knowing everything is essential to success. The fear is that if I can’t do it perfectly then what I’m building (and helping others build) will not be viewed as successful.

In other words, the perception of knowing how to do something leads to the actual achievement of that thing, or at least my mind tells me this. If I admit that I don’t know how to do the thing that I’ve spent my career (the old career and the new one) learning, then I’ll be seen as a fraud. Frauds don’t gain trust or build relationships that last. Frauds are people you flee from and tell others to avoid.

Thinking on this fear creates the opposite of the goal I’m pursuing

Community building is about communication, trust, reciprocal benefits, honesty and love through relationships with individuals and groups. When you get down to it, community building is about learning how to do relationships better and better. NO one has the monopoly on being the best at relationships. It’s something everyone is still figuring out.

As I’m building communities with musicians, entrepreneurs, startups, and nonprofits (and helping them to build their communities) it’s becoming more and more clear that we all are still learning how this works and what can be done better. That realization is helping to overcome this fear.

Maybe you’ve bought into the lie that I bought into: That you have to be an expert to win in your field AND experts know everything about their prime subject. Knowing everything is what makes you an expert. People turn to experts for help because they know what few other people do and their direction is always right.

Have any of those little fibs crept into your mind and produced something in you that has made you question yourself or your abilities to help others, or your abilities to move yourself forward?

I’ve talked about buying into things based on emotions instead of logic (or a mix of the two). The emotional desire to win has been used by a few so-called experts in motivating me to buy from them. While several of these “gurus” had some great ideas, their expert knowledge wasn’t 100% fireproof. Then again, no one’s is.

We have a little problem with how we view teachers, mentors, experts and gurus in our fields of study and work. It doesn’t matter if it’s music or business, the marketing side or the operations side, and everything in between has a lot of room for growth. In other words, we all operate with a grey area of unknowns that every day helps to bring some new truths and lessons to. I don’t know everything about the field of community building. But I’m learning new things everyday.

Overcoming the “expert” fear

bw head shotThank you for letting me express some deep fears. I’ve had this one fear of not knowing everything for the better part of this year (2015) and even before that. I don’t know everything about radio either. I don’t know everything about music, or what makes for successful music.

But I’m learning. What I learn and the people I connect with that teach me new things are shared here. That’s one of the best parts of the DIY Artist Route & You Podcast that was started this year. I’m setting up the schedule for 2016 and there are some awesome guests who will teach us both some great new things.

The mantra I talked about on my birthday about how life is a series of milestones on the way to the destinations of our choosing simply means that in the process of life we discover new things that lead us forward.

What I learn helps me, and by sharing with you what helps me and what helps others we are building community. Thanks for being with me for this journey of new discoveries.

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