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Fear is a big, fat jerk

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

I recently asked my social followers this question:

What is your biggest obstacle to learning something creative you'd like to try?

"Fear" was number one, then came "time," which I'll cover in an upcoming post.

I've long lived with the fear monster, taking up space in my head, telling me what I can and can't do, what I should and shouldn't try. The thing is that "fear" is almost too big a topic. We know what it feels like but we don't quite know what to do about it when it takes over. So let's break it down. First of all, we are wired to feel fear. It's human nature, the fight or flight thing from our survival instinct DNA.

Of course, what is actually terrifying about trying painting or anything new? Nothing from a survival point of view but it almost feels that way right? So, fear is an instinct and it shows up especially when we are thinking about doing something new. Ok, so if we accept that and realize, "Hey, I'm fighting human nature here. I'm working on some rewiring," then it somehow seems like it has less power over us (at least it did for me).

It also helps to go deeper and understand the nature of our fear. Ruth Soukup's book "Do It Scared," and her podcast by the same name have been helpful for me. She breaks down fear into seven "Fear Archetypes" and even has a free online assessment where you can see what your primary archetype is (mine is the Outcast, by the way).

Ruth helped me normalize the fear because we all have it in some form or another, the idea is to learn to do what you've set out to do anyway. That's where having faith and determination come to play.

"True courage doesn't mean waiting to stop being afraid, it's taking action despite our fears." - Ruth Soukup

Here's an example from this week for me. I've wanted to put a video on this website introducing myself and sharing my vision for unleashing creativity for a long time. But hell that's scary! Put myself out there, figure out what and how to say it, show my face and voice, yada yada.

But I've got these goals and I am going to keep doing them even when they scare me. I'm working on distancing myself from the fear so that rather than a dominant voice it's becoming kind of pouty and like a badly behaved child being ignored. So I just smile at it and put one foot in front of the other to do what I've set out to do.

I'll go deeper into this in the online class I'm developing on Growing a Creative Practice. Be sure to sign up so you know when it's launched early next year. Oh, and I did manage to get the video on the home page yesterday, yay!

fear holding you back
Doing something scary

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