Everyone has their inner demons, but in the entertainment industry, our demons often wear party hats and bring whoopee cushions. It’s important to remember that even the most confident personalities may occasionally be haunted by the fear of failure. But don’t worry, it’s a demon that can be tamed with the right approach. The only chance to win is when you are able to perform with confidence, a healthy swagger. But fear gets in the way.

Fear is defined as:

An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Fear of failure is the enemy of self-expression, creativity, and growth. It leads to despair and ultimately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The best approach is to confront it. Accept it. Acknowledge it. But do not allow it to defeat you. That’s easier with a coach that believes in you, supports you, and is helping you succeed. I hope you have that. If not, find someone to confide in and mentor you.

You Can’t Perform With Confidence If You Strive To Be Perfect

Many personalities think that if they can just correct the small mistakes and fine-tune the details, they will succeed. They work so hard to be perfect, the entertainment is polished out. There are few perfect segments, let alone a perfect show. Yet radio managers focus on correcting negative behavior rather than encouraging positive growth.

Eliminating bad habits does not produce excellence. Greatness happens when personalities discover new solutions and perform with confidence. Consider these examples:

  • Thomas Edison conducted hundreds of failed experiments on the electric light bulb. Asked if he was discouraged, Edison said, “Failure? That’s not a failure! I’ve eliminated another possibility that won’t work. Each time brings me closer to a solution”. That’s confidence.
  • Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player in history (sorry LeBron fans), yet he was cut from his high school basketball team. The coach didn’t think he was good enough. He used the setback as motivation.
  • Billionaire investor Warren Buffet was rejected by Harvard.
  • Richard Branson is a high school dropout.
  • And MLB Hall of Famer Duke Snider was a feared home run hitter who also led the league in strikeouts. But he kept swinging for the fences. His philosophy was “Swing hard, just in case you hit it”.

Gaining Confidence

Positive thinking neutralizes fear and inspires confident performance. A veteran morning show was stuck in a rut. Topics were generic and they had a bad case of IMEWEUS. It would be easy to criticize the show but that wouldn’t inspire them.

The program director agreed to focus on building strengths by making a few simple adjustments.

Here’s one of the examples:

I never cross the street against a red light. I think it’s dangerous and careless.

We praised them for a character-revealing comment, but challenged them to rephrase it to be more powerful:

Are you kidding? Don’t cross the street against a red light. Crazy drivers that hunt for people like that.

The personality was surprised they would be allowed to say something so controversial. Seriously! But this simple adjustment killed the fear demon and unleashed his personality to perform with confidence.


The constant threat of budget cuts and staff reductions is a real fear. So is the possibility of losing listeners to other media, but instead of cowering in the shadows, embrace these fears like a comedic sidekick in a sitcom – laugh at them, but learn from them too.

Try setting small goals, making little changes, and celebrating your wins. Remember, it’s not about being perfect, but about growing and evolving. So, go ahead and swing for the fences, just like Duke Snider!

And when you nail it, celebrate it.

Learn to perform with confidence and keep moving forward.

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