Aisling’s notes: As artists, we all deal with that double-headed demon, fear of failure/success. In this article, musician Bob Baker discusses some options when immobilized by these fears.
How Do You Face Your Creative Fears?
by Bob Baker
Gloria, a subscriber to my “Quick Tips for Creative People” e-zine, recently sent this note:
“Do you have anything on self-discipline and overcoming the fear of failure/success? I feel very enthusiastic when I do things, but the demons of fear just creep up on me. I do not want to repress them any longer; I am fed up with them. But I know it’s easier said than done. SOS: I do not want to be a chained slaved to my fears any longer. Help me help myself!”
Well, I’m flattered that Gloria felt comfortable in turning to me for some advice, but I’m also a bit fearful myself in tackling such a widespread obstacle to success. But I’ll give it a shot.
First, let’s turn to Marsha Sinetar for some perspective. In her book To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love, she writes: “Almost all of us fear our potentials … Generally, fear’s message is that we’re not yet ready to be, do or have what we want. The way out of this dilemma is through a change of mind about ourselves — not simply the gaining of technical skills or textbook knowledge.”
Throughout her book, Sinetar encourages readers to play with their visions of a life that’s true to their purpose. I agree. Using your head for “possibility thinking” is extremely important in gaining confidence and getting mentally prepared for reaching higher levels of success.
But I also belief the best formula for living dreams is a balanced combination of THOUGHTS and ACTIONS. Nothing gives you confidence like having attempting something new that is in line with your creative passion. Whether it’s taking a painting class, going to a theatre audition, writing the first chapter of your novel … each small step builds a stepping stone to the next level.
Taking a closer look at Gloria’s note, I find the solutions to her dilemma woven into her very own words.
She writes: “I feel very enthusiastic when I do things …” She feels best when she is engaged in your passion. As she continues to do more things, her enthusiasm (and belief that she was meant to pursue her path) will grow.
“I do not want to repress (my fears) any longer; I am fed up with them.” Gloria has taken it upon herself to face her fears, not avoid them. By acknowledging her paranoia, she brings it out in the open, where it’s far easier to tame. She’s also grown frustrated with her fears, and discontent can be one of our greatest motivators.
In her book, Marsha Sinetar also says that successful people have “belief systems and self-ideas that support their life’s objectives. Underneath doubts, stronger than fear, lives the thought: ‘I can do this. I will do this. I am doing it!'”
Gloria also writes: “Help me help myself!” This is the most encouraging line in the note. She’s not blaming the world for her ills or laying excuses at the feet of her circumstances. She’s taking on the responsibility of wrestling this demon herself, which makes me realize she is right on track to slay this dragon.
Keep in mind, though, artists never reach a point where their creative lives are void of fear. It will never go away. But with a solid combination of positive thoughts and self-affirming actions, you can keep the little monsters very much under control.
P.S. Be sure to take a closer look at Marsha Sinetar’s two best-selling books: To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love and Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow
Bob Baker is the author of “Unleash the Artist Within,” “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook” and “Branding Yourself Online.” Get a FREE subscription to Bob’s newsletter, “Quick Tips for Creative People,” featuring inspiration and low-cost, self-promotion ideas for artists, writers, performers and more. Visit www.PromoteYourCreativity.com for details.