Erika Bryant releases new book Doing It Scared [Exclusive Interview]
Interviewed and written by Tocarra Eldridge @TocarraMusikWorld
Emmy nominated television producer and author Erika Bryant is set to release her new book, Doing It Scared: An Inspirational Guidebook to Facing and Conquering Fear. In this interactive guidebook, Bryant shares her experience from working in the music industry to jumping into television and film as a producer. The book features self-assessment activities, note-taking, and truth-telling, encouraging and challenging the readers to take the first step to overcome fear. Doing It Scared is available as an e-book on Amazon and in hardcopy.
Over the course of Bryant’s career, she has produced over 40 television shows and worked with networks such as ABC, Bravo, MTV, E!, Lifetime, Oxygen and OWN, just to name several. I was able to catch up with Ericka Bryant and speak to her about new book and learned how she began to conquer and confront her fears. Here is what she has to share:
Tocarra Eldridge: Hello Erika, how are you today?
Erika Bryant: I’m good, how are you?
Tocarra: I’m doing great! Thanks for taking the time to interview with us today!
Erika: Of course. Thank you for having me!
Tocarra: You have a new book out titled Doing It Scared: An Inspirational Guidebook to Facing and Conquering Fear. What inspired you to want to write this piece?
Erika: This book has been over 10 years in the making. I realized on my journey from leaving the Bay area to going to college in Atlanta all by myself, I had my best friend with me but no family there. Then just kind of jumping into the music business – being in that business for about nearly 10 years and jumping into television with no help while starting working from the ground up. In my life, I’ve always faced mountains of fears. Every time a mountain has presented itself, I just tackled it – doing it scared. On the other side of that mountain, and of each mountain, I feel that it’s a sea of blessings that God has for me. That was the inspiration for the book.
Tocarra: Being a successful woman in the entertainment industry and an Emmy nominated film producer, what was some of the fears you’ve overcome in your life or career to get to where you are today?
Erika: Jumping from the music industry where I was very very comfortable. I was at an executive level and working my way up. I think when switching at nearly 30 years old, I did something new. I took a leap of faith and bet on myself and decided that I wanted to be a freelance worker in the television business. I went from being this executive to being a [television] production assistant, to making little or no money per day in super long and excruciating hours. That was huge to do a step down like that. It was very humbling, but necessary. I was able to learn every production side of TV. I work every job. I’m a showrunner executive producer. I can really appreciate my journey. Beyond that, I think it’s just being in rooms, being the only Black female at the table, if you will. I know that it’s a mantle that I have to carry sometimes. I don’t shy away from it. I’m very thankful for the opportunities. I also know that it’s my responsibility to hold the door open for those coming behind me.
Tocarra: Let’s get back to your book Erika, it features important attributes. You added self-assessment activities and note-taking. While reading your book, why do you think these elements are critical when it comes to overcoming challenges?
Erika: I wanted to write a book that I would love to read. I enjoy books that makes me do work. I wanted to give back a little. I wanted the readers to have an authentic experience where they can really look and search themselves or any potential fears that they may be having that are holding them back from living the life that they want.
Tocarra: Let’s switch gears to anxiety. For an individual that may have anxiety when it comes to working with groups of people or speaking in front of small or large crowds, does your book share techniques that an individual may practice on a regular basis to overcome these challenges?
Erika: I think the things that I present in the book can address issues of anxiety. It is again, facing and seeing yourself in the mirror and facing some of those things and asking yourself, ‘why are you afraid?’ As far as specifically speaking to getting up in front of crowds, I don’t cover that specifically, but I think the lessons are kind of blanketed. I know for me, that’s an issue I had to overcome. I’m not normally out in the crowd or in the front; I’m a producer for a reason. I love being behind the camera.
Tocarra: Do you have any words-of-encouragement that you would like to share for those individuals who feel as they are losing hope due to their fears not allowing them to achieve their dreams and goals?
Erika: I think my hope would probably be that I really want people to know they have the power to unlock the life that they want. We really can be and have the things that we want if we possess that power within. It’s just a matter of facing fears and living fearlessly and doing it scared – really just trusting that we were born with everything that we need to succeed in this life. The words that we speak very much do frame our world. I think that it’s important that people take a look at what they’re saying. What are we saying about ourselves? Our self talk is very important and I’m a huge love advocate. So, I feel like the old adage that ‘love cures all’, I really really believe that. I think it’s best for self-love.
Tocarra: I definitely agree with you Erika. Now, what inspiring words would you share with Black females who are looking to get into the entertainment industry, but yet have challenges, however, are looking to be successful as yourself?
Erika: I would definitely say, to be the best at your craft. I think as Black women, we don’t have the luxury, quote unquote of half-assing it or knowing the piece of the pie. We have to know the whole pie, what was in the pie, what kind of oven it was baked in, and what kind of dough was it. We have to know everything from A through Z and be the best at it. We only sometimes get one shot. You have to show up and show and prove when you get that shot. That’s been my experience, I don’t know about other women’s experiences. Coming from me to other Black women, do your best and show up. Be an example. Our voice is so important and has been suppressed for so long. It’s important that when we do have a platform that we have something impactful to say.
Tocarra: Great advice! Great advice! What do you want the readers to take away once they read your book?
Erika: I want the readers to know that the title Doing It Scared is not just me preaching at them. I want my readers to know that writing and sharing my world – this was an act of courage for me. It took me ten years to write this book and beyond actually. When I set down to do it, it took me ten minutes per day. By ten weeks I had a book that was wrote. It had only happened because the pandemic came and shut the whole world down and we had to stay in the house and I had no other thing to do. It was finally time to unplug and plug back into myself in a very true and authentic way. I just want people to know, it’s really me living it; I’m doing that literally daily and continue to, because I think again beyond the mountains of fear is where our blessings lie.
Tocarra: Would you like to add anything else before we conclude the interview?
Erika: I think a lot of us sometimes can get stuck in the rut of being quote unquote talkers. To conquer the fear, we basically have to be busy doing, verses, talking like being a doer, not a talker. I think being a doer and being a finisher is important. Procrastination is a disease I say [laugh]. I just want people to talk the talk and walk the walk. Even if you’re scared, it’s okay. Do it anyway.
Tocarra: Wow! Thank you so much. It was a great interview! Thank you so much for your time today Erika!
Erika: Thank you! Have a good one!
To learn more about Erika Bryant and her latest happening visit www.erika-bryant.com
Follow on Instagram and Twitter at https://www.instagram.com/ebryant22