This TED talk by Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking is one of my favourites. Mostly because it feels like the story of my life. I’ve recently read the book that came out of this talk and that cemented it.
I’ve been terrified for a large portion of my life of asking for things. That shame. As Amanda says, it’s not easy to ask. But something else came to light in the watching and reading – I’d become terrified of sharing things even more than asking for them. I seem to have fallen into the trap of keeping a lot of my work to myself. Fear again. Fear of being judged by others. Fear of not pleasing people.
Where does that come from? That desire to stay this side of the line and play it safe? I wasn’t always like that. I had plans, dreams, ambition. I was always proud of the work I created and eager to hear how it could be improved. To get that feedback it had to be shared. Then my late 20’s and early 30’s I just sort of stopped. I carried on writing but the audience became smaller. The safe few, guaranteed to laugh or nod appreciation.
That said, having reached the ripe old age of 44, it seems I’m finally finding my way back out of it. Already this year I’ve had writing performed on stage and I’ve fulfilled a life-long ambition: to hear other people sing my songs in a musical. I’ve started to share again. The sharing feels good.
Now comes the asking…