If you’re a creative person you are probably familiar with the feeling of fear.
- Fear stops you getting on with your new piece of work.
- Fear stops you making the phone call that would help build your artistic network.
- Fear stops you doing the simplest of things, like opening your sketchbook.
- Fear will make you only see the negative in your work and cause you to ignore or dismiss the positive.
- Fear can manifest as illness so that you miss an important event.
- Fear can make you cry when really you are doing OK.
- Fear can make you hide from the world.
- Fear can make you so tired that you can’t function – or think you can’t.
In short, fear will make you feel a brand of wretched that is tailored just for you! Your own personal Achilles ankle!
However, fear doesn’t have to be bad. It can mean that something good is on the way.
Fear is the precursor to doing great work
Fear is the precursor to doing great work. I learned this lesson in a recent episode in my technology day job. A problem had occurred and initially I wasn’t worried. I felt that it was within my power and capability to fix. But then the situation escalated and it became scary.
I felt alone and paralysed. But it was my job – I had to act and sort things out. My fear was irrational because my colleagues were pleased with my assessment of the situation and my intended approach to fix the problem.
The problem occurred on a Friday lunchtime and I figured out how to fix the issue before the end of the day. I did some preliminary tests of my fix for a couple of hours that Sunday afternoon and things were looking OK. However, when it came to going into work the following week I became terrified again.
I realised that this was the same fear that I felt in my creative work – crippling, irrational and just plain scary. Therefore, the solution would be the same. I had to coax myself through it one baby step at a time.
Seeing the fear in this way helped me to see that fear is often a precursor to doing great work – whether that is a computer programming issue or writing a story or painting a canvass.
Fear is your opportunity to shine
When fear lands, it is your chance to shine.
Fear arises when you are about to embark on something significant. It makes you dig deep for a solution, deeper than you are comfortable with. The result has an effect on other people. They comment on how much they liked it or how meaningful it was to them.
Working through the fear translates to you pulling out your best capabilities even though it might be a hard or painful process. It allows you to be your best self. This shows in your work.
I went on to solve that problem in my job and sort out the mess it left behind. Everybody was happy. I did it by myself. No-one else saw my anguish – they just saw the results. It was my chance to shine.
By realising that the fear meant something good was going to happen, I was able to make it happen.
Need some tips to overcome your fear?
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Over to you
How do you get through fear? Have you noticed any cross-over between your day job and your artistic life where one can enhance the other?
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