Let’s just address the elephant in the room – it’s hard to hit send, push publish, and tap submit. The agony of release can be so daunting that we would rather not put it out at all than to dive headfirst into the fear. I completely understand, I’ve certainly talked myself out of completing projects or putting them out because I’m nervous of how they’ll be received. On the cusp of dropping a new web series I felt like this would be a great time to give you some insight on how to overcome the fear of putting out content and continue doing it everyday.
Prior to 2007 you couldn’t have told me that by 35 I wouldn’t be partner at a law firm, fast forward to now I’m sitting outside in my backyard hoping that everyone likes a picture I just posted to Instagram. What a turn, amirite?! As I dove into the deep end of this entrepreneur life one of the first lessons I learned was that I couldn’t have many qualms about releasing my creations into the world. The more I held onto them the more I built up an unscalable wall for the next thing. When I sat down to write blog posts there were no thoughts about the people that my content would resonate with, instead I typed riddled with anxiety that everyone would hate it.
Every single episode of Let LESLIE Tell It that was released came with a side of stomach pains…
Have you felt that? The pain of anxiety. I do, a lot. Which isn’t great when creating is your life’s blood. Now after many years I’m working on putting things in perspective. A friend told me the other day, there are over 2 billion people who use YouTube. Which means inevitably there will be someone out there who sees what I’m throwing and will catch it. Rather than focusing on what I can’t control; the lovers or the haters, work on what I can. That’s where this first piece of advice comes in.
Do everything in excellence.
My motto for life is to do everything in excellence. Reason being? Because excellence can’t be denied. If you spend time ensuring that your work; whether written, photographed, filmed, painted, or whichever your gift may be if it is done well, it will be noticed. We’ve all seen a movie that’s bombed. For some reason it just doesn’t connect. The reality is that happens. Some things fall flat but it doesn’t mean you’re done for, it may mean that wasn’t your best work. Any actor will tell you they’ve been in something that wasn’t their best but it didn’t stop them from acting. That’s the same way you have to be about your work. Accepting that one mishap doesn’t mean derailment. That’s the time for a pivot!
Be willing to pivot
During the heyday of the original Let LESLIE Tell It, I had a myriad of ideas. I wanted to share music, have guests, all of that. I tried both. Neither was well received by my audience. They hadn’t fallen out of love with me but they did express to me what they wanted. That was hard. It did teach me a valuable lesson however. You can stay true to what you want to do and still satisfy the people you serve as long as you’re willing to pivot. As a former basketball player for me pivoting makes so much sense. In the game you can turn in any direction as long as you don’t lift the foot you’ve planted, off the ground. Content creation is the same way.
As you grow and shift things change; your audience’s expectation, your maturity level, your own likes and dislikes. You should always be growing and that can be frightening when people have been coming to you for a certain thing. What I’ve discovered through this process is that if you keep one foot planted in why you started in the first place – then pivoting doesn’t have to result in a plummet. Please know I’m talking to myself here as well. My biggest fear in trying something new is that people will hate it. But the flip side of that coin is that if you never put it out there, you’ll never really know.
Refer back to your why
This piece of advice has been shared by plenty of people in a multitude of ways. It may seem cliche, but at its core it is valuable. Vulnerability is uncomfortable it’s hard even for people who don’t struggle with it. For those of us whom sharing feels akin to stepping on a bed of cacti, that discomfort can seem unbearable. In order to get through it reminding yourself of what made you begin or why you continue can be just what the doctor ordered. When I pitched the idea for this new show, I was met with some resistance. Some wondered if it would be on brand, others asked if it was going to be like what they had seen before. Each of those questions I also had to ask myself.
Was it on brand? Absolutely. The Hautemommie, in every iteration, is aimed at influencing people, namely women, primarily Black women to pursue the life they envision. Sharing how I actively do that in my life is more on brand than anything. That message is grounded with every episode. Was it going to be the same version as before? No, not wholly. I’m not the same person I was almost 8 years ago when that began. That said, I am still ME. Still fun loving, opinionated, and willing to say what someone else may be afraid to. But now I’m turning that inward rather than out.
It was daunting to say that aloud. It was nerve wrecking to stand in front of a film crew and say things I hadn’t said on camera before. But after every take and even through them I watched men and women nod their heads in agreement. Which was just the validation I needed. I couldn’t allow my fear to supersede what I was seeing in the real world. Our minds will tell us one story but it is up to us to compare that tale to the facts and determine if it should be believed. What are you going to hold on to? The story or the truth?
You may never fully get over the anticipation of releasing the thing. But you can put the fear on pause. Stand in that nervousness knowing that every single one of us has a beginning. You didn’t come into this life walking. All of us had to learn how to use the things we were given to make a move. What you are capable of is learning, you can grow from where you begin. You can’t go to where you don’t grow to. Remember that. I know well how fear can keep you trapped, keep you living in the past or paralyzed about the future. But now is where you can decide to live.
outfit details: t-shirt – palmer cash // denim – zara // coat -zara // purse – Louis Vuitton // sunnies – Ganni // shoes – Chanel
photography: Kaye McCoy
You can decide to move, go forward, trip, slip, and maybe dip but do it no matter what and I’ll be here working on it too. Because as I like to say, none of us have made it were all making it one day at a time. Share this with a friend who needs the push!