One Very Shy Guy
If you had told 16-year-old Dave Jackson that he would make a living standing in front of people and talking to them, he would’ve laughed out loud and heartily disagreed.
Dave, the founder of the School of Podcasting, is a laid back, funny fella who inducted into the podcasting hall of fame.
Movin On Up
After leaving his illustrious job as a paperboy, at the age of 16, Dave started working in a grocery store. Unfortunately, he didn’t last more than two weeks. Turns out working in a grocery store required interaction with customers and despite being a hard worker, Dave was beyond shy and deathly afraid of interacting with customers. Thus he was released from his position.
Dave had secured this job through a high school class and it seemed like it was, in retrospect, a “get a job in a grocery store class” because his teacher quickly helped him secure a second job at a different grocery store. Accept this time, his teacher had some life-changing advice for him.
You can be who you want, just give it a shot
“If you act the way you want to be, someday you will be the way you act.” This was the advice Dave’s teacher shared.
His teacher made him understand that he could be anyone he wanted if he set his mind to it. Realizing he had nothing to lose, Dave decided to give it a try even though it meant pretending not to be shy for a little bit.
It was more like a “fake it till you make it” kind of thing. But hey, that stuff works!
The discovery of his hidden potential unfolded when Dave was put into speech class. He discovered that he was funny and had the talent to actually make people laugh. He also realized that you don’t have to imitate or copy others. In fact, you can express yourself any way you wish. And this, he says, slowly but surely got him out of his comfort zone.
Say Yes More
Getting to walk into a place and make people laugh is about confidence, Dave says. And although it seems like it seems that Dave has a lot of confidence these days, he reveals that even as a grown man, there were (and still are) so-called “little things” that he’s scared of.
We all have a basic primal fear that keeps us from trying new things. But bravery is what propels us into unsafe, uncomfortable zones that help us grow and become better.
So what is the bravest thing Dave says he’s done? No … It’s not speaking on stage to thousands of people. The bravest thing he’s ever done was get into an air balloon because he is terrified of heights!
Here’s how it all went down. While working with Libsyn, a podcast media hosting company, one of the developers who worked on a balloon team, offered Dave an opportunity to work on the ground team. He was assured he could say on the ground and figured it would be a fun experience.
Besides, Dave had made a conscious decision to say yes to more things.
And so he agreed to help with Balloon inflation and all other activities but made it known to everyone that he wasn’t going to get on it.
It seemed like almost everyone getting on the air balloon, including a “3-year-old” and even a “900-year old” man were having fun. Dave remembers the balloon pilot calling out “Last chance buddy” and he summoned the courage to get onto the balloon. His right hand, however, locked the railings in a death grip and wouldn’t let go.
On that balloon, Dave figured out that sometimes you just have to mentally relinquish control to get past your fears. One way to sustainability and consistency beat primal fear is to consciously remind yourself of the victory feeling and to reward yourself for winning.
Dave is a big fan of pushing himself and seeking self-guided rewards for following through. There’s always time for joy and personal enjoyment in our lives.
More important, he says, is getting an accountability partner that would call you out if you lost track of your daily commitment to fighting fear.
Additional resources mentioned in the episode
The book “The one thing”