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Freelancing, Failure, Follow-up, Risk, Reframing and the Passionate Life: Gregg Levoy Intvw Transcript Part 2

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GL: Oh, absolutely, yeah no, they won't allow you to do it by yourself if you've never done it before. So yes, there's somebody, but nonetheless you are flying through space and you look between your legs and there's nothing between you and the ground. You know, you're not in an airplane, it's just the sense of vulnerability is huge. So, but yes, that's a protective frame exactly.

Rob: So, a little bit more about writing; I want to keep going with the writing, let's talk about rejection in writing.

GL: Rejection.

Rob: Yes.

GL: Well, you know, the notion of rejection in writing, I mean let me broaden it just a little bit because all that represents is some of the stuff that can hit the fan as you move toward any passion or any call. Alright? In this case as a writer, the call is writing, part of the fear is the fear of rejection and failure, but you know maybe the broader discussion is what are you going to come up against in pursuing any passion in living more passionately when you've been keeping a lid on your exuberances; maybe your whole life or maybe in certain arenas your whole life. What are you likely to trigger by moving toward it instead of staying safe? Backing away or staying in the neutral zone around it.

Rob: The refusal of the call again.

GL: Yeah, exactly. And so rejection just represents one of the things that can hit the fan when you begin to move forward, and this is one of the reasons why I recommend that people try out new passions in small steps. You know? Rather than great big flying leaps because it's much more manageable; you're much less likely to short yourself out; you're more likely to be able to develop skills for dealing with whatever comes up as you move toward. So I'm just a big believer in start small and manageable.

Rob: Can you give an example?

GL: Oh, if your passion is to be a public speaker, alright, and that apparently according to studies, the peoples' number one fear is the fear of public speaking. It's not actually dying, which most people think; although I had a public speaking teacher of mine once say that you know, people think that the biggest fear is dying, studies have shown that it's public speaking. So that's the number one fear, the number two fear is dying while public speaking. But if your passion is to be a public speaker, I would say start small by pacing around your room and practicing a little part of a speech or take your jokes out to open mic night or practice with a friend or pull together a personal board of advisors to help counsel you and practice with. You know, so small steps that allow you or just go in your living room, set up a camera and tape yourself speaking publicly, you know? And look at the feedback that the tape gives you. So just little ways of trying it out that don't short your circuits.

Rob: Makes sense, I just wrote article, I don't even remember what the article was about, but I talked about how I quit smoking. I smoked cigarettes from my freshman year in college until the time I was twenty-five. And the way I quit was identifying the different parts of the habit of smoking; smoking while on the phone, smoking driving to work, smoking after a meal, and I figured out which ones would be harder to quit. And I quit the easy ones first.

GL: Of course.

Rob: So it's kind of like doing that in reverse.

GL: Of course, this is why I suggested to the people last night in the workshop that if you're going to share the material that came up for you during this vital signs workshop, that you start with the easy customers and work your way up to the tougher ones, not the other way around because that's a good way of self-sabotaging yourself, you know? Start with the people who are most likely to respond positively and affirmatively and supportive rather than the ones who are going to ask you those devil's advocate questions that tend to be a bit heavy on the devil and a little light on the advocate. You know? The ones who are going to look for the problems and the obstacles and say I don't know, have you thought about this and that? Or what makes you think you can do that? Or you know - and there are people in our lives, even people that we consider loved-ones who are in some ways our worst enemies. That's why I suggest to people start with people who are most likely to succeed.

Rob: Getting back to the Hero's Journey, when you accept the call to adventure, you cross the threshold.

GL: Right.

Rob: And when you attempt to cross the threshold, there are threshold guardians.

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