Yesterday, I finished mastering my forthcoming kids record, CALL ME A NERD. The whole writing/recording process took 9 months from concept to fruition and quite frankly, I was feeling quite proud of this fact. Then I realized the obvious correlation to child birth. Is that a coincidence? Or is 9 months the most natural gestation process for anything humans create? For my record it might be true. But in other areas of life, it takes A LOT longer to take an idea from concept to reality. Take my friend Brian for example. His film company Tumbleweed Entertainment just released a documentary on public speaking called, SPEAK. The film took him 5 years from idea to completion. When he heard me mention the Nerd record took 9 months, he graciously sighed and said, “I wish I could complete a project in 9 months!” Of course there is a huge logistical and creative difference between doing a record and doing a film, but this idea of gestation really got me thinking. Let’s set aside the obvious hurdles of creating art: time, money….oh yeah….and TIME (for all you parents out there, you know what I mean!) What other factors make this process take so long?
I propose it is fear.
Fear of humiliation? Fear of embarrassment? Fill in the blank with whatever it is for you. But for me, it’s humiliation and embarrassment. How long do we delay our creative actions because we are afraid the result might not be good enough? But isn’t parenting a creative endeavor? Sure there are books, but not since Acting 101 in college 20 years ago have I had to think so quickly on my feet! “Daddy, how does a baby fit through the vagina?” Uh-oh.
I think the only reason we new parents take bold parenting steps is because we convince ourselves that it’s not a creative project. But really, what’s more creative than helping a human being develop into a self confident adult? Even as a 43 year old father of 2 young children, I still connect with my 7 year old self who is afraid of making mistakes. While on the one hand I am attempting to teach my children to embrace who they are, I am at the VERY SAME MOMENT QUESTIONING my own self worth. Am I a good parent? Am I doing this right? Truthfully, the answer to those questions is yes and sometimes. I do think I am a good parent with great intentions who falls on his face once in a while…..and then the light bulb went off.
When I model self confidence for my children, it isn’t for them to see how “good” I do things and how “fearless” I am. Instead, it’s to show them what to do when you go completely SPLAT on your face. I think they are going to be very good at dealing with this because they get a lot of practice by watching me fall every day.
“Yes, your father made a mistake.” “Yes, I do feel embarrassed.” and most importantly, “No, it actually didn’t kill me!”
Looking back on my conversation with Brian, I now realize what I said isn’t true. Yes, it took me 9 months to make the NERD record. But that was only after I found the courage to do it. It took me 42 years and 3 months to overcome my fear of humiliation and embarrassment. Only then did I find the courage to share these ideas with all of you. A great writer friend of mine once said, ” There’s only one way to deal with fear. You can’t go around – only through!”
go ahead, call me a nerd!
- Jonathan Grossman