In 2021, Writer and actor Michaela Coel won an Emmy for her HBO show I May Destroy You. She delivered this powerful speech, addressed specifically to writers.
“Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that isn’t comfortable. I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success—do not be afraid to disappear. From it. From us. For a while. And see what comes to you in the silence.” – Michaela Coel
Her speech inspired me. It got me thinking about my fear and how it has held me back in the past and continues to hold me back in my writing and other areas of my life. So even though Coel’s words were directed to writers specifically, I believe it applies to everyone.
Fear is only there to caution and not to restrain
What does it mean to do the thing that scares you?
Many of us shrink ourselves because we believe that is the best way to fit in. So we try to conform by quenching the flame that makes us unique. Consciously and subconsciously, we look to others for prompts on how we should feel about ourselves. We wonder “what is allowed?” “what will look weird?” “what is acceptable?”. We do this check-in out of fear — fear of failing, fear of being different, fear of succeeding.
The more we lead with this fear, the further we stray from who we truly are. Fear causes us to shed our authentic selves. It’s primal to conform to survive. The problem with this is if we don’t balance our conformity with bravery and a little push back here and there, we never discover our real potential. We never give our light a chance to shine. Anyone that has ever changed the world has had to break out of the herd. You don’t have to change the world but, you can change your own life and find fulfillment.
How can you grow into your best self?
Start by doing the things that scare you. Fear is only there to caution and not to restrain. So work through your fear, shed that excessive caution, be bold, and step out of your comfort zone. Because that is how you come alive! That is how you tell your story to yourself and the world and discover what you’re truly capable of. Remember what they say — “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. ”
And while you’re at it, stop seeking permission to be yourself. Stop checking in with everyone else before you live as you want. Don’t lead with fear. Trust your ideas and chase your dreams with reckless (but grounded) abandon and know that you are capable.
This article was first published in an issue of The QLC Newsletter.
The QLC Newsletter covers issues like finding your purpose, self-actualization, job dissatisfaction, mental health, relationship issues, money anxieties, and more. These topics are typical stressors for an adult’s quarter-life crisis and every week our founder shares advice, insight, and unique perspectives on them.