In my last post, I talked about the first step that I took in my journey to Capture My Creativity. Step 1 was "Tune In" Today I want to talk about Step 2: Face Your Fears. This topic isn't usually much fun to talk about. Many people will do anything to avoid their fears. But if I have learned anything this past year on my journey to creative recovery it is this: In order to break through the barriers and claim the life you want, you have to do the things that you fear the most.
Joseph Campbell said it: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.”
Steven Pressfield said it too: “The more important a project is to your soul’s evolution, the more you’ll resist it.”
Even Ralph Waldo Emerson said it, so it must be true: “He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.”
Fear is the number one block to living your best life and Capturing Your Creativity. It is the most significant obstacle that I had to overcome in my own journey. It is the reason that following your passions, embracing your creativity, and living your dreams are not the path that everyone chooses. If you are not following your passions, fear is probably the reason. If you are not acting on your deepest desires, fear is probably the reason. If you are not following through with the projects that you start, fear is probably the reason. If you never find the time to even start new projects, fear is probably the reason. If you feel stuck and just want to expand your horizons, but don’t know where to start… guess what?! It is most likely FEAR that is holding you back.
In my own journey, I have had to face a lot of fears. I finally got to a point where facing my fears was less scary than not facing them and having to live with the fact that I hadn’t even tried. That was too much to bear. My hope is that it hasn’t taken you guys quite so long to figure this out. I’m a really late bloomer in the following your passion department, but at least I finally got there!
A few of the things that terrified the crap out of me for years: Writing a blog. Sitting down and actually painting instead of just sitting around thinking about it. Submitting my writing to a publication. Submitting my artwork to a juried show. Taking the next step in my career. But over the past year I have done each and every one of those things, and guess what? I survived! Not all of my efforts have been successful, but I’ve learned that the outcome is far less important than the simple act of DOING IT. Sure, my efforts may bomb some (or most) of the time. My artwork may not be accepted. My writing may be rejected. But that is not my concern. My concern is DOING THE WORK. I am responsible for moving through my fear, committing to my work, and delivering the best product that I am capable of at that point in time.
So what can we do about this ugly thing called fear. All of us have it. It is mean and nasty and doesn’t leave anyone out. Some of us may not recognize it as fear… we may label it as indifference. (“I’m way to busy and important to spend time being creative. I don’t have time for such frivolities). We may label it as anger. (“I can’t believe my boss is making me work overtime again! That jerk, guess I won’t get to work on my project this weekend”) We may label it as frustration. (“My life is never going to amount to anything. It’s hopeless, why even bother!”) We may even label it as jealousy. (“I can’t believe she is doing what I want to do… I could do it so much better!) but all of those emotions really boil down to fear. We are scared. Scared that our projects won’t pan out. Scared that our work won’t be accepted by others. Scared that our work will be accepted by others and we’ll have to work harder to keep up our success. Scared that we’ll run out of ideas. Scared that we are a fraud.
What I found to be so ironic though is that once I decided to act on my ideas and desires and follow my passions and I finally faced the fears of doing so… it was not really that scary. Once I got to the other side, I realized that there had really never been anything to fear. That’s the deal with fear… it tricks you into believing that you are not enough just as you are. It makes you believe that you need to do or be or achieve MORE before you can be happy. Fear tells you that you need more experience or better connections or more talent. But you don’t. You have all you need right now.
For those of you stuck in limbo, not taking action on your passions, on your genius ideas, or just feeling kind of stuck, I challenge you to just do it. Just face your fears head on and I guarantee you…Your creativity is waiting for you… just beyond your fear.
Must Read for "Face Your Fears": The War of Art and Turning Pro both by Steven Pressfield and Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck.
Next time I'll talk about Step 3: Get Real (And Start Where You Are).
See you then!
© Haley McManigal 2015
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