This Article Originally Published September 2000

by Michael Laskow

Fear can be a great motivator or a huge deterrent. In my case, it was a great motivator.

When I started TAXI, I was so fearful of failing, that I found the strength and stamina to work ridiculously long hours—typically eighteen hours a day, six days a week. I wouldn't let myself fail because I didn't want to let myself down, my family down, or lose my partner's investment. And frankly, some of my motivation came from my own ego. I didn't want to have my name attached to a failure.

But, during the eight years since I started TAXI, I've seen an awful lot of members who seem to be deterred by fear, not motivated by it. I can understand that. Human instinct tells us not to step off a cliff because we will most certainly die, or at the very least, be maimed in the process.

For the members who are deterred by fear, the most common manifestation seems to be that they don't make submissions after they join. Why? Because they fear failure. Not death or serious injury, but injury to a very sensitive part of the body—their minds.

Am I guessing at the reason? No, I've talked to scores of members over the last eight years who have admitted that they fear failure. I'm sure there are other reasons as well, but for the sake of this article, let's address fear.

Webster's Dictionary defines fear as, "The instinctive emotion aroused by seeming or pending danger." That Webster's includes "seeming" in the definition is very telling. Walking off a cliff, would be an indication of pending danger. Almost certain.

Submitting a song to TAXI would seem to be a case of something seeming dangerous. Thankfully, nobody's ever been mortally wounded by an undesirable outcome from a submission to TAXI. I'm sure that for some people, it must feel a little bit like dying when they find out they weren't forwarded for a particular listing. But, in reality, it's not the end of the world.

Now, for the tough love portion of today's feature presentation. Take a long, hard look at people who succeed. Did they run from opportunity because they feared failure, or did they embrace the opportunity in spite potential failure? Of course, they embraced opportunity.

What would have happened if Thomas Edison had never tried? The world might still be lit with kerosene. What would happen to Monday Night Football if the players feared losing so greatly that they didn't show up? And what about golf? Do the other players stay home because they fear that Tiger Woods will win again (now there's a fear with some foundation to it!)? Heck no!! People keep on trying because they know there's a chance.

And as long as there's a chance, they find that the will to succeed is stronger than the fear of failure. We all know who those people are—they're the winners in life. You simply can't win if you're not in the game.

So what confuses me about people who join TAXI, but never submit, is this; if they've taken that all important first step by joining, why do they find it intimidating to take the second step which is the actual submission of material? Because, by merely joining TAXI, they have elevated themselves to the rank of "serious" about their music without having to actually put themselves at risk. In other words, the second step is the one where they can fall and break their neck!

And here my friends is the point; by submitting to TAXI, you don't risk breaking your neck at all. You only risk bruising your ego. More importantly, if you pay the entry fee but never join the race, then you need not fear death at all, because you may already be dead.

I'm not recommending that you jump off the cliff, but you might want to try hang gliding. At least climb the mountain to see what the view from the cliff looks like!

You might find that you not only overcome your fears, but the feedback you get from TAXI may help you realize that you're closer to success than you thought. If you find out that you aren't as close as you'd like to be, then at least you can take the comments from the critiques and improve what you're doing. The more you improve your craft, the greater chance you'll have of succeeding.

There's a reason that we're all taught to climb back on the horse after falling off. Overcome your fear. The best way to lose your fear of flying is to get on a plane and face the fear head on. We're here to help to help you on your quest. TAXI is on your side. Carpe diem.