Today’s post comes from a very personal place because I want to talk about fear. I wish I could say that I’ve just come to the end of a challenging period in which I learned to conquer fear, and now I’m going to tell you how you can, too. But I can’t.
Instead, I’m going to say that I’m going through a very challenging period right now. I’m feeling a lot of fear. I’m six months in to my new life as an entrepreneur, I’ve moved from Ohio to Washington, and just about everything in my life is unfamiliar territory.
The circumstances of my life are no doubt different from yours, but if you’re an artist I’m sure you get what I’m talking about. You are also an entrepreneur. You have also chosen a profession that is challenging. You also may have doubts about your ability to succeed in a highly competitive world. We’re all trying to make our way through uncertain terrain. And fear is our constant companion.
Fear is a nefarious beast. For me, it fills my mind with excuses and unreasonable thoughts. What starts out as concern about how I’m going to pay the bills next month fairly rapidly explodes into visions of me living in a cardboard box under a highway somewhere. (Way to pile on, fear!) Fear wants to paralyze me, wreak havoc on my health, and rob me of my sense of humor. And perhaps worst of all, fear has stolen my creativity. I feel fairly low on creative energy or ideas. As a fellow artist and entrepreneur, what could be worse?
They say fear can be motivating. Really?
So I have turned to the wise people around me for advice on channeling this fear into motivation. I have spoken to my dear, wise friend Sam (who’s even written a book called the Origin of Inspiration — he should know!), and to my ever-grounded friend Ruth, and to my courageous nephew Andrew, and to so many more. These people have embraced different traditions so the language they use to advise me varies, but it all comes down to the same thing:
Step out in faith, and get to work.
Always this two-part refrain: Step out in faith, and get to work.
Stepping out in faith is important. Super important. It’s my own mind that’s generating all this chaos, and there is something far more powerful than me that can calm it. I’m talking about Spirit. I’m talking about the Divine. Whatever your personal faith belief is, whatever language you prefer to use, we all have some form of faith. Perhaps faith in yourself, or perhaps faith in God or the Universe or some Higher Power. It doesn’t matter. Stepping out in faith means trust, surrender, believe. Release the fear crowding my mind and welcome the flow of peace, calm, energy, intuition. I can’t eliminate fear, or the crazy fear voice I hear in my head, but I can let it go by surrendering and trusting.
And then it’s time to get to work. It’s extraordinary how good I feel when I’m actually focused and working, making progress toward succeeding at this thing I’m trying to accomplish. I start by asking, what am I here to do? Who is it that I need to serve today, and how can I best serve them? What does the world, or at least the people around me, need from me right now that I can deliver? For me, it’s identifying each of my clients’ top priorities and working through them. For you, it might be completing some new artwork or even getting started on your marketing so that people know you’re available to them.
So do you want to get to work? What are some quick hits you could do to kickstart your marketing efforts?
- Post something about your latest work on Facebook
- Join a relevant Facebook group and participate in a couple of conversations
- Set up a Twitter profile
- Pin five of your latest pieces to Pinterest
- Find a competition and enter it
- Shoot excellent photos of your latest works
- Update your website with those photos
- Send out an e-newsletter about your latest work
- Call one of your gallery representatives and ask what you can do to help sell your work
- Identify a gallery you’d like to be represented by and find out how to submit your portfolio
By the way, did I mention that this two-step is a never-ending dance? Apparently we don’t just step out in faith once and then work forever. I’m so sure that that crazy fear-voice will return, but all we have to do is repeat the process. That’s what my wise friends say, and I’m banking on it.
One last bit: a video clip from Jen Sincero, author of You Are A Badass. Refreshingly honest! Look for the part on Mr. Magoo-ing!
How about you? Has the nefarious beast got you in its grip? What works for you? Let’s connect!