There’s a lot of reasons to hold back. We can all come up with endless obstacles that could prevent us from trying for what we really want.
I think one of those reasons is a fear of hearing “no” to our request.
I get it. It isn’t ideal. There are two pieces of good news here, though.
First, people hardly say no anymore. They will more likely just say nothing at all! (Yes, that’s a joke about the sad reality of our passive, disconnectedness as virtual beings)
Second, and really, if “no” is the worst that can happen, it’s really not that bad at all. If hearing “no” to one particular moment is too much for us to bear, we should probably spend some time shifting our scope, expanding the dream, and opening up ourselves to being satisfied by more than the one trajectory we currently have in mind.
And here’s a third thing: By avoiding hearing “no” we are eliminating the opportunity to hear “yes”.
When we put ourselves out there we might be turned down, but we also might be accepted! It’s the whole “you’ll never know if you never try” scenario.
What does all this have to do with being a musician? Everything.
A few months ago I started emailing various venues to offer to perform. In particular on a trip back East I wanted to book a show to which I could invite my family and friends who don’t typically get to see me perform live. The trick was, it isn’t a scene in which I have connections, so I was coming in pretty cold.
Still, I decided to try. I sent several emails. Most just went unanswered (so I never actually heard “no”!), but one did respond with a “Yes!”
I was invited to play as part of a musician’s showcase very similar to the ones that I am used to here in LA, and it was an incredible night. My family and friends came from all over the area, I met a new group of incredibly talented artists, and I was able to share my music right back with all of them.
This couldn’t have happened if I hadn’t created the space for “yes” by risking hearing “no.”
“No” is not the end, it is a curve around which we keep rolling. So I’m going to keep rolling, keep asking, and keep finding the “yes”, and I hope you do too!
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