Tag Archives: John Mayer

Got Insecurity? So Does Maxwell.

10 Jul

“I’m a really, really insecure person at best…”

– Maxwell, Q&A at the BLACKsummers’night Listening Party & Press Conference on 4/28/09

A few years ago, I blogged about how John Mayer gets anxiety attacks.  And lately, with all the Michael Jackson coverage in the news, it’s been mentioned a lot that Michael Jackson was extremely shy.

OK, these are obstacles.  Big obstacles.  If you have “crippling anxiety attacks” as John Mayer’s were described in a September 2006 issue of Rolling Stone, one could assume that you might not be able to perform in front of huge crowds, have your albums go multi-platinum, and win Grammy Awards.  and if you are extremely shy, maybe you are just not meant to be the greatest pop star of all time.  Or maybe just maybe, you would be able to perform in front of thousands upon thousands of people, wow crowds, and maybe even become the King of Pop.  Maybe, despite all the obstacles that would seemingly make these things impossible, you can, and you do anyway.


In a recent Q&A at the BLACKsummers’night Listening Party & Press Conference, Maxwell confessed to being a “really, really insecure person at best,” and this is what he tweeted before his dress rehearsal for the BET Awards in June:  “on the STAGE gettin’ ready to do the dress rehearsals… so NERVOUS…”

I have long been fascinated by insecurity and fear, and how it can stop you.  Or not.  In my own life sometimes I will hit a wall of fear that is so scary it makes me want to stop, drop, and roll under my covers, question if it’s worth it, and be tempted to just give up altogther on that particular hope.  And it is easy to think that if you are at all insecure, shy, nervous, anxious, or fearful, well, maybe that big bold dream just isn’t for you anyway.  Maybe it’s for those totally secure, calm, fearless people, and you, well, you can stay hiding out, snuggled under those covers, and settle for a listless life devoid of meaning, in which your dreams are absent, having been chased away by your fears. 

But who are those supremely confident, ever-unflappable people?  Does anyone really not have to walk through some form of fear or insecurity on the path to their dreams?

Whenever I’ve performed or spoken in front of large groups, and even when I teach small groups, I often get very nervous (the heart-racing-difficulty-breathing-sick-to-my-stomach variety) beforehand.  A calm then sweeps over me once I get onstage or get started, but I’ve wondered if there are certain people who are extremely successful at what they do who just get to skip the fear step.  I’ve wondered if there is a way to override those nervous jitters and instead only embody complete confidence and calm at all times, in all situations, even in the most jitter-inducing of circumstances.  Seeing people who just SHINE, or ROCK, or do whatever they are doing to its fullest and most radiant expression, I’ve longed to know, what is their secret?

And the secret is this:  these people are often insecure, shy, nervous, anxious, or fearful.  But they do their thing anyway.

Maxwell describes himself as insecure.  Watch this video for “Pretty Wings” and see if it appears that he has anything at all to feel insecure about, or if “insecure” is one of the top five adjectives that comes to your mind to describe him.  Personally, I think, “dizzyingly beautiful, amazing voice, off-the-charts-talented, soulful, and sexy.”  Insecure doesn’t make it anywhere close to my list.  Or check out this performance for the CBS Early Show and see if you could guess that he ever gets nervous before performing.

In this recent Q&A Maxwell said, “I’m a really, really insecure person at best,” and he then continued with a laugh, “I mean, I know I front hard on that stage, let me tell you, it’s all fake.”  That’s the other piece of the secret:  sometimes you really do just have to fake it ’til you make it.

Fear, shyness, insecurity, anxiety, and nervousness can be obstacles that stop you in your tracks, propel you into hiding under your covers, and chase away your dreams.  But they don’t have to be.  John Mayer gets anxiety attacks.  Michael Jackson was shy.  Maxwell is insecure at best.  But they all stepped through their fears to share their incredible gifts with the world.  Don’t let those things stop you from sharing your gifts with the world.  Just take a deep breath, front if you have to, and step out into your spotlight to rock.