Opportunity can be scary. It can be exciting, exhilarating, giddying (not a word)—but it can also be scary. What if my ideas aren't sexy enough, exciting enough, big enough, bold enough, trendy enough? And before you know it, you're drowning in these questions.
I'm not just speaking in hypotheticals.
The last six weeks have been a time of significant change for me. I interviewed for a job that started 12 days later. I packed up my life in Melbourne, said goodbye to my friends and was on a plane back to Sydney within 9 days. I started a new job without anywhere to live and have been staying with friends and housesitting for my first month back in Sydney. I've been anchorless.
While all this has been happening, I've also been presented with a significant creative opportunity. If I wanted to really put the pressure on myself, I could say that it's my biggest professional opportunity as a filmmaker, to date.
And truth be told, I feel ready for it. I want to take this opportunity and bite its freaking head off. But I've been living out of suitcases, and settling into a new job (which I love and want to excel at), and looking for a place to live... so life keeps getting in the way.
When I voice my fears, voice my uncertainties, those nearest and dearest to me have all said, 'Yes, but you're great with a deadline.' And generally this has been pretty true—I dig deep, I shut out the noise, and I don't let the other crap stand in the way. All of the recent upheaval has been clouding that, though, and fear is impacting on the work.
So what's the answer?
Well, it's actually the same it's always been: shut out the noise and focus on the work. I've made the move, I've started the job, I've found a place to live, and I have a team of some of my favourite people, my closest collaborators, waiting for a script that's still being written; so they can help me make it better, so that together we can bite the head off this opportunity.
So I need to finish the damn script.
A few days ago, I posted a keynote from Ava DuVernay about taking off the coat of desperation. In it, she talks about not putting your desperation for a mentor or a leg-up onto other people, and to just focus on the work—and that by doing that, you will get to where you want to be.
Well today I'm going to take off the coat of fear. Screw it. I don't need it. It doesn't own me.