"The world won't know who you are until you tell them with your own voice" Something clicked in my brain like dynamite when I read this quote by Sally Hope. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized the truth and the significance of these words.
Others can see the potential in us, they can recognize our talents and strenghts... but they cannot know our deepest hopes and our hearts desires - until we tell them. So many of us, myself included, wait around for permission from other people to start pursuing our dreams, to start living our lives free from fear. But the good (and scary) news is that we do not need anyone else's approval except our own.. We can grant ourselves the permission that we need, and we can get started NOW.
This is what Step 4 of Capturing Your Creativity is all about - Taking Yourself Seriously.
Ask yourself: "What would I do if I was not afraid?" The answer? Exactly what you should be doing RIGHT NOW. Ask yourself another question: "What am I most afraid of?" The answer? The thing that you MUST do.
But here's the problem: we don't feel qualified to do that thing. We don't feel smart enough, or talented enough, or attractive enough, or well-connected or resourceful or outgoing enough to do the thing that we secretly want to do. So we don't do it. We procrastinate. We daydream, but never take action. We sigh a sigh of resignation and are bummed that we just weren't born with what it takes to do what we really want to do. So we keep doing the same old thing, working in a job that doesn't light us up, staying in unhealthy relationships, keeping up old habits that no longer serve us.
But what if I told you that you COULD do that thing that you want to do? What if I told you that all it takes is acknowledging the fear and the uncertainty that you feel, and then acting anyway? What if I told you that it is time to drop all of the excuses that have been holding you back and start to take steps toward your dream? Well, that is what I'm telling you - because its true.
Here's how it worked for me: Throughout my mid to late 20's and early 30's I was obsessed with personal development and spirituality. I read every single book that I could get my hands on, and I wrote constantly about what I was learning in my journal, but never dared share any of it. I also longed to create art. I was making cakes on a regular basis, but I would go to art museums and shows, and just stare longingly at the artwork, aching to create something more myself. I started following people who inspired me, several of whom were "life coaches", something that I hadn't heard of before but was fascinated by. I was also fascinated by successful entrepreneurs and savvy inspirational speakers. And while I loved what all of these people were doing, I didn't think for one second that I was qualified to do any of it myself. But over time, as I started to Face My Fears, I slowly started to realize that... I would love to do some of these things myself. I really AM a writer, I just need to start writing regularly. I already am an artist, I just need to be more committed to actually creating artwork. Slowly but surely, as I faced one fear after the next, I started to realize that... I can do whatever I want to do. No one has to give me permission, I just have to DO it. I'm still working toward gaining the courage to do some of the things that I want to do. I'm still facing fears on a regular basis. But the difference now is that my default mindset has changed from "I could never do that" to "I would love to do that! What do I need to learn or do or overcome to make it happen?"
But there is more to this... you have to go do the thing that scares the crap out of you, and then you have to OWN it! This might come naturally for some, appearing confident despite the deafening roar of self doubt in your head. But for me, it often gets the best of me. When I first started writing this blog, I would just dismiss it in conversation like it was no biggie, and then I couldn't figure out why others weren't at all interested in talking about it with me. Well, I hadn't exactly made it sound fascinating. I had made it seem small and insignificant, which was in fact the farthest thing from the truth. But I didn't have the confidence in myself to share this excitement with others. I felt like a fraud, even though this work was the most authentic version of myself that I had ever dared share with the world. Bottom line: if you aren't excited about your work (and willing to share that excitement with others) then others probably won't be too excited about it either. So here's what you have to do; the same thing that everyone on the planet has to do when they are first starting out (unless they are an ego-maniac - which I am assuming you are not since you're reading this) FAKE it till you make it, baby! Everyone is a beginner at some point but that is no excuse to stand on the sidelines too timid to get in the game. Fake it till you make it. Its the only way.
So, I want you to ask yourself these questions: What would I do if I were not afraid, and What am I most afraid of? Then, you guessed it, go do it! Do it loud and proud and unapolagetically. We've got this!
We're about to wrap up my Capture Your Creativity Series. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these articles. I hope that what I have learned and shared with you here has been of some benefit to you as well. Thank you so much for reading each week. If you like this series so far, feel free to share it with your friends!
Next time I'll talk about Step 5: Surround Yourself With Positive, Engaged Supporters and Never Give Up!
See you then!
© Haley McManigal 2015
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