“She must be fearless” my brother James said.
“Actually she’s not” I replied.
On Anzac Day, Lucy my 11-year-old rose early, the alarm ringing at 5.45 am. She’d been up for half the night, nerves taking hold. Each year for the last few years, she’s committed to playing
The Last Post at 6 am and 9 am.
No one makes her. Asks her. Or tells her she has to. It’s her decision.
As the morning light appeared this year, she went to step out on the balcony, alone, her 13-year-old brother no longer wanting to get up that early and play together as they traditionally had.
With her music pegged to the music stand, she faltered and turned.
“I don’t think I can Mummy,” she said.
Inwardly, I got it. How petrifying having to walk out and play on a balcony, overlooking an entire suburb at the crack of dawn, trumpet in hand, all by oneself.
She also said “What happens if no one else is playing? What if I’m the only one?”
At that moment, I had a choice, let the nerves take over her decision-making and choices or support and empower her with whatever she decided.
I used the same technique I use whenever teaching people how to public speak, get up in front of a room, and facilitate an event or meeting for a team or board.
Focus on one person in the room, one person needs to hear what you have to say or play.
“Somewhere out there Lucy, a soldier is listening, maybe a currently serving soldier, or perhaps it’s one who is resting now. Someone who died in action, defending our country. Play for them, play to them. That’s who this is for this morning”.
When we make a performance (of any kind) about ourselves, our nerves will absolutely explode, because our ego gets in the road concerned about not being good enough, living up to expectations, getting it right, keeping people happy, etc. It is and can be debilitating. If, we let that fear take hold.
Bravery at the front isn’t about being fearless, it’s about taking action despite the underlying fear or anxiety that sits there.
She was remarkably brave. The smile as she nailed her 6 am performance went from ear to ear.
Heart-warming. She was the only one. Usually, we can hear other kids, other instruments, even her band teacher gets out with her French horn. However other than the kookaburras and other morning birds, it was her solo trumpet sounding out against the breaking dawn.
At 9 am she grabbed her music stand and headed back onto the balcony. A little shocked because the nearby builders were very visible and the morning neighbourhood activity was bustling compared to the earlier start. Again those eyes turned on me glistening as she contemplated her nerves and her choice.
“Remember that soldier? Play for them again. Wherever they are, maybe it’s a different one this time. Play for them again”.
And off she went, delivering a spectacular performance. Neighbours cheered, and random strangers clapped. That resting soldier hopefully smiled as those ever haunting notes of The Last Post echoed across the valley.
Rest in Peace. Your bravery forever encourages generations to come. Thank you for your gallant efforts to protect our shores and keep us safe.
Lest We Forget.
P.S Never let the anxiety or fears overcome your true purpose, intent, or desired outcomes. Stay focused on who it’s for and why it matters.