How to Embrace Your Fears to Create Your Best Work
Are you ready to answer the question? It’s a simple one. It’s the question that will reveal once and for all whether you’re an artist or not.
Are you afraid?
Do it anyway.
Have you ever wished you could push the fear away? Or just get over it?
Don’t wish such a thing, because not you, nor anyone else, will ever be entirely fearless.
And honestly, you shouldn’t want to be.
Fear is not your enemy.
The biggest problem with fear today is not fear itself.
No, it is the belief that we should never be afraid and we should be courageous and confident beyond measure.
Courage and Confidence Are Not the Result of an Absence of Fear.
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On the contrary, courage, confidence and even so called fearlessness are the results of facing, embracing and finally, dancing with your fears.
Dancing with your fears requires looking ’em in the eyes, raising your pen above the page and writing anyway.
It’s okay to be afraid.
If you’re not at least a little afraid then that indicates you don’t care enough about failing, about connecting, and about creating work that matters.
Too often we look at prolific artists and wish we could be more like them because they seem to have nothing to fear.
But that’s not true.
The most successful people, in this case those who consistently finish and ship, are the ones with the most to fear.
They put themselves out there so many times that failure is not just a possibility, it is imminent.
Not everything everyone creates succeeds in the marketplace. Not every song Michael Jackson or even Elvis Presley released into the world was a #1 hit!
But that never stopped them from creating more.
So, yes, the odds of failure get higher with every piece of work that you ship.
Scary, isn’t it?
Good. It should be.
Embrace fear because it means you’re taking chances and creating when others are stalling and giving up.
Fear weeds out those who don’t care enough.
So how much do you care?
You. Want. To. Care. A. Lot.
You want to care so much that the mere thought of not creating scares you more than anything else.
With that kind of fear, you’ll create no matter what the results might be and you’ll pay more attention to what truly matters to you.
When embraced, fear can help us focus, stay the course and create with passion.
It’s when you don’t feel any fear that you should truly be worried, because that means your heart just isn’t into it.
We love art not just because it’s beautiful and rare, but also because we know the artist had to dance a glorious dance with fear to create such a masterpiece.
Our fears give us our edge.
Fear is an essential piece of the indescribable X-factor all memorable artists have in their work.
Without fear we would not need to go places that we’d rather not. Without fear we would not try harder, worker longer or attempt more than we’ve ever attempted before.
How we respond and live with our fear helps develop our personal signature. You’re art, how it will be viewed and remembered, depends greatly on how you faced your fears.
If you let fear control you and cause you to be insecure, overly frustrated and doubt yourself, then your work will likely come across as weak, directionless and incomplete.
If that’s happened to you, that’s okay. I know how you feel. I’ve been there, too.
And the good news is that every day you have the opportunity to begin anew, to dance a new dance.
When you finally embrace fear and dance the glorious dance, your work will be considered bold and charming, beautiful and dignified or even, unique, exquisite and delicious…
We need fear.
Stop trying to avoid it, push it away and feel comfortable. That won’t work. Sometimes you need to be uncomfortable, dissatisfied and determined to breakthrough the status quo and rock it!
You’re going to have to face your fears.
And be thankful for them.
We admire artists not just for the work they created, but because they remind us that great work comes from mastering not only the brush, the pen or the lens, but rather, the fear within.
Master your fear by embracing, dancing and creating with it.
You will never create work worthy of attention if you do not master fear.
Let’s be clear here, just in case, I’m not talking about fear of a vicious wild animal, because by all means run like hell if you’re in danger.
No, you know the fear I’ve been talking about. The real fear that keeps you up at night. The fear you truly dread. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
The only way to remove that fear is to stop creating with passion, to stop doing things that are risky and to stop doing anything that might not work.
If you really want to remove that fear, know that if/when you do (as if you could) you’ll also be giving up the same power that drives you to create.
Creative inclination and fear go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other.
Just remember, when fear causes you sleepless nights and you’re tossing and turning, and you’re wishing it would just go away, it’s not your enemy.
Fear is the fuel to your creative fire.
So what should we do?
Instead of tossing and turning and begging for sleep, get up, take action and create something awesome!
If you do that which you fear, you won’t merely overcome it -no, you’ll do something much better than that- you’ll realize you’re an artist.
And that’s what artists do.
Are you ready to dance? Share with us in the comments.