“Courage: The willingness to take a stand against previously held negative or disempowering beliefs and actions, trusting in the possibility of a positive future (often despite current evidence that a positive future is not likely or predictable)”
I am standing with my band on stage at the El Portal, a landmark 350 seat art deco theatre in Los Angeles. It’s the second night of the 12 show run of “Prime,” my own original rock musical, and the curtain is slowly rising. My fingers quiver with adrenaline, poised over the fretboard of my electric guitar.
I have invested over $60,000 of my own money and racked up over $100,000 in credit card debt to reach this moment, but over the past month I feel an increasing dread that my show will be a flop and all the money will be lost.
But my biggest fear isn’t about the money, which is already gone. No, it’s the fear of having to perform to empty houses, even now evoking painful memories of playing on the streets of Northampton, Massachusetts, singing my songs to no one.
But after opening nights’ half full house, and what I thought was a great show, I’m vaguely hopeful tonight’s sales will be better.
The curtain opens and I gasp. There are maybe 20 butts in seats.
I take a deep breath–a one-two-three-four!–and then I play my heart out, and have a great show.
I tell this story here because it speaks to many of the values that have guided my life. Creativity, passion, entrepreneurial risk-taking, facing my fears and the success in failure.
As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Or as Winston Churchill once said much less famously, “Success is moving from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Or as Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Whatever doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”
I have had my wins and losses in love and in life, but the only regrets I’ve ever had are when I didn’t follow my heart, or I didn’t play all out, or I was too numbed out or checked out to show up at all.
When my fear didn’t keep me stuck, I started numerous successful small businesses, including a $2 million-a-year import business; founded the non-profit Freedom Within Prison Project; recorded 3 CDs; produced my rock musical in LA, and New York City two years later (6 sold out shows and 4-star reviews—I learned from my mistakes).
I understand how fear keeps you stuck. And I believe that it’s when we face our fears that we grow the most and our life is most satisfying. Whether it’s overcoming fear of intimacy, or fear of failure, or fear of success.
All it really takes is the courage to go forward despite our fear.
Here’s a definition of Courage from BeAboveCoaching that I really like:
As for me, I’m still living my dreams. I’ve got several new book projects I’m excited about. I continue to be humbled and transformed by my work in the prison with the Freedom Within Prison Project. And I feel such joy and gratitude that every day I get to use my gifts of creativity and passion in my role as a coach, empowering you to live a life that truly inspires you.
“After years of basic talk therapy with a therapist I loved and respected, I saw that although I felt better after my sessions with her, I had made almost no changes in regards to how I was living my life. I left therapy, began working with Luke, and saw the difference and the results immediately. With each and every one of my sessions with Luke, I have been able to make the kinds of positive changes in my daily life that I would consider nothing short of transformational. Luke is highly knowledgeable and informed, deeply intuitive and fiercely intelligent, and that combined with his sense of humor and empathetic nature makes him a true master. He is hands-down the best coach I could ever hope to have on my team.”KB, NYC
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with Luke for the past 2 years. Luke has consistently demonstrated a remarkable level of insight, creativity, and professionalism that has enabled me to make tremendous strides forward in my life, both professionally and personally. If you’re ready to move forward with your life and wish to be supported and challenged in a unique way – you can’t have a better coach and guide than Luke.” Woody N., Watsonville, CA