More than ten years ago, when I was 19 years old, I saw a flyer hanging in the HFAC (Harris Fine Arts Center…my home on BYU campus). It was announcing auditions for a “music mission” in Nauvoo…participants needed to be proficient in singing, acting and dancing. As a vocal performance major, I had the singing down, and since I had at one time been accepted into the Music/Dance/Theater program, I thought the other two I could handle. Problem was, the auditions were done.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the entire next year, and as soon as that notice went up the next year, I called and set up my audition. Audition day came, and I drove up to Salt Lake where the auditions were being held. They were happening in the Church Office Building and we had to have some special parking permit. Once I got there, I wasn’t really sure where to park, and I was so nervous that I was beginning to have second thoughts. I seriously considered turning around and driving back down to Provo and just forgetting the entire thing…and blaming it on not being able to find a parking place. Somewhere in my mind, I tried to hold on to the fact that I really wanted this and had wanted it for a year now. So I steeled myself against my fears, figured out where to park and went into the audition.
Once inside, again I seriously thought I should just leave when I saw how many people were there. There were over 200 girls, and maybe 50 guys. I knew there were roles for 6 women and 6 men, so I didn’t feel that my odds were very good at this point. But again, I had to tell myself that I was already there and I might as well try. If nothing else, I could chalk it up to experience….audition experience is always helpful.
I was there all day. I did my initial audition and sat around waiting for callbacks. I made the first cut, and the second cut. Things were looking up….but looking at all the talent that was there, I still didn’t have much confidence in it. After all was said and done, we were sent home to wait for a letter in the mail.
A few weeks later I received that letter…and I had been chosen to go! I was thrilled, of course, but couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I had almost thrown the whole entire opportunity right out the window. As it turns out, that summer in the show at Nauvoo was a major turning experience in my life. I really redefined who I was and when I came home, I had an entirely different set of goals than I had had before.
So….here we are today, 10 years after I returned home from Nauvoo. I haven’t forgotten that lesson, and I have tried hard not to let my fears of failure get in the way of opportunity. Yet still, every day I fight with the little demons in my mind that tell me that I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or creative enough, or organized enough or whatever enough to attain my goals, aspirations and dreams.
Maybe 8 years ago, Elder Holland gave a wonderful devotional at BYU and based it on the scripture in Hebrews 10:3-
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
He reminded us that fear is our greatest enemy. I know he was focusing mainly on receiving an answer to prayer, and then “casting away” the confidence of that answer as we let fears of various sorts come in. I came away from that devotional knowing that it applied to my perpetual fear of failure and the many opportunities I did not allow myself because I was afraid.
So today I am thinking that after 3 years of thinking I can’t do it, I am going to finally enter the Scrapbook Hall of Fame contest. All of the old familiar feelings that I’m not good enough, or creative enough or talented enough are beginning to paralyze me right now. But I want to do this…I want to say, just like I said at an audition ten years ago, that if nothing else I can chalk it up to experience. If I don’t win, I will still have pushed the limits of my creativity and made myself better, I will still have pages that I love in my books and I will have the dignity of knowing that I didn’t give in to my fears….I didn’t cast away my confidence. I won’t cast away my confidence. I will not turn around and drive back home, because there is always a chance that it just might be the thing that I was meant to do.