Is putting yourself out there worth the peril?

Yes.  End of article. 

Actually, this simple one-word answer deserves some explanation. There’s a big difference between publicly stating your position and putting yourself in the public arena for examination and scrutiny. Most people are quick to share their opinions but hesitant to publicly open up their character and personalities.

Ken Bevel had a big decision to make while filming the movie Fireproof. While serving as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, Ken was sitting in the back of a church when he heard about the plans to make a movie in his hometown.  Ken had no acting ability and no idea what it would take to be part of a major motion picture.  He looked over at his wife and said he would try out (put himself out there) for a role in this movie.

There are millions of people all over the world who dream of seeing themselves on the big screen one day. However, a tiny percentage of those people will ever do anything to move toward achieving that dream.  

Ken refused to be just another number in that statistic. He started studying for a small role in this movie.  No one expected that he would end up having a leading role in 2 successful movies with absolutely no previous acting or production experience. 

There’s a tiny difference between the person who dreams of starring in a movie one day and the person who pursues that dream.  The difference is courage!  Only the man or woman with the courage to put themselves in the public eye is willing to show up to the audition or report to the first rehearsal.  Ken Bevel is a living example of the difference the courage to put yourself out there can make in a person’s life.

It takes courage

It’s much easier to sit on the sofa and dream of an acting career than to show up to an audition or read for a role in a movie. It’s easier because you’ve got nothing to lose by playing it safe and staying on the sofa when other people with the same dream study a script.  A life that refuses to risk rejection is shallow and cowardly.

There are a lot of people living a shell of the life that they could and should be living out of insecurity. This persistent insecurity shows up in the form of fear.  Their fear leads to withdrawal.  This withdrawal manifests itself in presenting a false version of yourself in public.

Not presenting your true self in public is a form of cowardice. 

It takes humility 

This idea may seem counterintuitive. Many people think that it requires a big ego to become a public figure. However, because of our cancel culture, everything said in the public arena is now scrutinized and criticized.

Knowing that you will be criticized and sometimes crucified for what you say in public takes great courage and humility. It takes a greater degree of humility to be willing to speak your mind openly and present your true self in public than to remain silent or to present a false sense of yourself on an issue.

It takes vulnerability

Putting yourself out there means people can take shots at you. You might want to move into a cave and completely withdraw yourself from society if you are trying to live a life where nobody can ever do you harm. Unfortunately, we live in an age where people will criticize and condemn you no matter what you say.

Presenting your authentic self in public means that you are willing to be vulnerable with your weaknesses and speak about your strengths. This is rare in our society. The sanitized social media profiles of celebrities avoid any risk of showing true challenges and real vulnerabilities.

This one-sided look at a person’s life ultimately attempts to perpetuate a lie. So, go ahead and let them see you sweat.

It takes honesty

When you’re courageous, humble, and vulnerable… now you’re on your way to being authentic.  However, being honest in public is another crucial step in putting yourself out there.  This is the ultimate paradox of Hollywood. The greatest performers learn how to be themselves while playing someone else for the cameras.

If Ken Bevel had attempted to be someone totally fake, he would never have made it through the first reading of the movie Fireproof.  Because he learned how to naturally and honestly be himself when the camera started rolling, he graduated to a much more significant role in the movie Courageous. Even if you never have plans for a Hollywood movie career, you owe it to yourself and society, to be honest with your public persona.

It takes tenacity

As if all of these other challenges were not enough, there’s one last factor required in order to be yourself in public truly. It’s going to take tenacity. People will take shots at you. Society will attempt to tear you down. The natural tendency is to give in to peer pressure and remain silent or slip into someone you’re not when this pressure becomes intense. 

This is what I love about Ken Bevel and others like him. Despite public pressure, I have the greatest respect for people who can remain sincere about who they are. Chances are you respect people like this also. If you want to be one of those people, you must have the tenacity to remain true to yourself no matter how intense the public pressure. 

Listen to my entire interview with Ken HERE

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