Fear – Tips on how to disarm fear

Sharon Glassman – Fear – Tips on how to disarm fear.

So it sounds like a cliché, that like, you know… whatever…

” It’s always darkest before the dawn, what goes up must go down. It’s all true. “

The great secret of my career is when I went to journalism school. I went to journalism school because I was starting to—I had this dream about writing about fashion. The why of fashion. What do high heels mean? What’s the color?

But I was terrified of interviewing people. And I had found this—I developed this crazy, great opportunity which I rejected. There was a new newspaper at the time, the New York Observer. Which is still around, and it had just started, and I sent them in a fashion article, and I got this letter back…It said, who are you? You’re amazing. We published this article. We want to give you a column every other week.

I said, well I can’t take it, unbeknownst to them, but now you’ll all know, the only way I could interview people was to interview them naked. Because I was so horrified about the interview process. Now, this was not rehearsed. This was not video Skype, this was on the phone. But the only way I could do it was to make it so ridiculous that I was already so humiliated that it couldn’t get worse. But this was not going to be the six secrets to a lasting career!

So I go to journalism school, terrified to interview, but terrified to tell people that I don’t have interviews because you’re suppose to know everything. So I get to journalism school, and they’re like, well you all already know how to read work, you know how to write. We wouldn’t have let you in. So we’re not going to teach any of that. Thank you, Colombia Records School of Journalism. And they would just throw people into the fire, and all these people became foreign correspondents and front page New York Times reporters. My class is like now full of famous people. And I’m like throwing up from nerves, so clearly I’m a failure.

I keep trying to do this interview thing, and I interview people for three hours, I’m miserable, and I’m a failure, I’m a failure, I’m a failure. It took a while to take the back route, but when I was doing something that I was happy with, telling a story on stage, I had no problem asking you about your love story. When I did something that was right for me, I had no problem. But still I was like, I can’t interview, I can’t interview, I can’t interview. And I carried this lie around for about 20 years until I began a series with Huffington Post.

I was interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Darrell Scott who is a fabulous musician, and this person and that person, people were calling Huffington, like, this woman is amazing! I was like, ooh! I do know how to interview people, I have to do it my way. I think it took my longer than the average bear to figure it out, that again, if it’s causing you great distress. I mean, if you want to interview people naked, I think that’s great. But if it’s so uncomfortable that you have shaking skin, then it’s wrong, but if something feels really wrong and you failed—I gave a commencement speech at Devar University, which I wish I could find, called

“Business is the Art of Making the Right Mistakes. So a mistake isn’t bad, a mistake is really helpful. It’s sort of like, what’s it saying, and if you don’t know what its saying, don’t worry, just go: “Thank you mistake”. Just don’t think of it as a mistake, it can be really helpful some time down the road, maybe 20 years, maybe not.

But yeah, now I’m a kick ass interviewer. I didn’t learn it in graduate school. I didn’t sleep for graduate school, it was horrible. But it’s sort of lived to where I am now. So I think it’s just a sort of like, thank the mistake, it may not have told you exactly why, yet…it will, It’s fine.