As we walked along the beachside, marvelling at the ocean and generally pottering along at the beginning of our new adventure in Australia, a small woman approached us. She asked Andy if he happened to have an agent, which thinking back, she probably knew the answer to, given our shoddy old school back packer appearance. She actually turned out to be quite a successful fashion photographer and very graciously offered to shoot as many shots as Andy needed, to create a basic portfolio to then go on and approach modeling agencies.
Andy of course giggled and in his delightful but incredibly self-conscious way, immediately closed the idea down, slamming the door shut to a room, he’d not even taken the time to step into and take a look around. His default response to anything that might draw attention to himself was always one of mild embarrassment and therefore something to be avoided at all costs. The funny thing was, as with most of us, he had never taken the time to explore why he reacted like this or to what in fact might just be in that room, if just for once, he, accompanied by his fear, stepped inside the unknown and opened up to the possibility that behind that door, lay a whole new side of himself waiting to be discovered.
Needless to say his bossy English girlfriend, (me) after a ‘serious’ conversation, was able to inspire a telephone call, which is all it took to get Andy boldly going when he had not gone before.
Then came the curiosity for acting and the desire to go another level with his newfound confidence. His ability to step into fear, instead of running in the opposite direction, suddenly created a life full of exciting challenges and YES of course they seemed truly terrifying, but better to feel that sense of nervous excitement than the monotone of a colorless existence.
So as he let go of the very lucrative modelling part of his career and made do on the flexibility of his engineering work, he stepped up again to some seriously courageous, lonely and big adventures as he headed off, on peanuts, to LA to brave pilot season. Which for those of you that don’t know is a rigorous and sometimes soul-destroying attempt to score a TV pilot, with the hope that it and you will get picked up, aired and recognized by the industry.
I will never forget putting a tearful Andy on the plane, as he headed off for his first season in LA. He knew absolutely no one, other than his then, fairly indifferent agent, had very little money, hired a ‘rent a wreck’ almost not road worthy car to dash around with, to the multiple and hugely scripted auditions, that all had to be learned the night before or more than often, the morning of and this entire brave adventure was fueled completely by his inner knowing, that if he didn’t try, he would never ever know what was possible and the fear of that felt far more terrifying than giving it a go.
Of the two different seasons he took on, staying in cheap crappy motels, with his best buddy, wife and number one fan, thousands of miles away, Andy managed on both occasions to get down to the last two favourites, on a pair of now very successful TV shows and both times despite our dogged attempts to manifest him a lead role, the universe chose otherwise and the networks went with the already well known and established safe bet, by choosing the more well known actor.
After a collection of small parts, a never fading love of the acting craft and a life changing acquisition, growing speedily in my belly, going by the name of Jesse Red, Andy’s focus and priorities began to shift. His primeval instinct had him suddenly begin to focus on where he could bring in a more consistent income, knowing that I was to stop work and that all of sudden all that mattered to him was providing for his speedily evolving little family. Which BTW I never subscribed to but honoured as part of his transition in approaching fatherhood…….
Anyway you get my drift, so cut to Jesse in the world, at the ripe old age of 12 weeks. Andy had received a call from his agent and was sitting in the kitchen with his head in his hands and you know the rest, the lead in movie, no payment upfront and no income all round…. Etc..etc and Andy again choosing the path that honoured who he was, who he could be and who he wanted to be, to those all around him.
This whole poorly written post is about understanding an honouring fear and knowing that there is actually a way to use your fear in an EMPOWERING way. In stead of being stopped by it, learn to let it spur you on, inspire you and challenge you to lean in to your life. There is no need to be be stuck on the outside of your life as an observer, peeking in through the window, wondering what it might be like in that room if you boldly stepped inside.
This lovely, silly, brave and once very shy guy of mine, croaked it at 39. In the 13 years years that I knew him he took a bite out of everything that terrified him and went back for seconds! For every brave step you take you have the power to turn rejection into encouragement, disappointment into a dare and fear into something that pushes you one step closer, to knowing what you are really capable of and the extraordinary chapter that may just lay ahead.