Every so often, we receive commandments from the Chicago Now Mount (Jimmy Greenfield, our much loved Content Manager) to publish a post in an hour and he provides the topic. Tonight the topic was "Write about fear, or lack thereof, and the role it has played in any aspect of your life." Well, he hit me in the sweet spot because I've given many seminars and talks about this very subject and have a lot to share.
Fear to me has always been a motivator. In my early years, it was fear of my alcoholic stepfather that led me to be an over-achiever in high school. Later on this fear morphed into ambition that got me out of Dodge. Even though I loved my small town, I knew I had to find my niche and it wasn't in Dupo, Illinois. Once I arrived in Chicago and became a Playboy Bunny in its hub and moved into the Playboy Mansion, it was fear of not being good enough that drove me. I knew I was from a small town, no college education (although I did receive a scholarship to St. Louis University) but this drove me even further. I became Chicago's Playboy Bunny of the Year and eventually a centerfold in December 1979. My years with Playboy were ones I'll never forget because I overcame my fears and happily achieved all of my goals there, making lifelong friends along the way.
After my years with Playboy, I moved to NY and became a model with one of the top agencies in the world, at this time, Wilhelmina. I had been rejected by Ford but knew I would find another agent who would be a perfect fit and I did. Why did I feel so confident? Because, by this time, fear wasn't an option, sheer determination had won out. I had used fear as a tool to get me where I was and now I was running on pure ambition. I had a billboard in Times Square and a role with Tom Cruise in "Risky Business."
You see, fear can serve two gods. It can be a motivator or it can be an inhibitor. Some people become paralyzed with fear and are stopped dead in their tracks and can never move forward. Others decide to choose this negative aspect and turn it into a positive like turning lemons into lemonade. I'm one of these people and I hope you are, too. It's all in how you choose to look at the world.
Here's a video from a recent seminar I conducted about entertainment reporting for Illinois Centers for Broadcasting (shameless plug). HOWEVER, here's what I have to say about dealing with fear.....
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