In regard to enemies of creativity, they don’t come much bigger then FEAR. Fear is a killer and for many it is the number one barrier to them pursuing any creative venture. So what is ‘Fear’, why and how does it rob us of the creative life we long for? According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary fear is a painful emotion or passion excited by the expectation of evil, or the apprehension of an impending threat.
When it comes to creativity we all experience fear; fear of criticism, fear of embarrassment, fear of exposure or being vulnerable. Any one of those fears can become very convincing justifications for not living creatively. Being creative is to give of yourself, sharing part of who you are. As a result you can feel vulnerable and exposed, making embarrassment or criticism a very real possibility. Aside from having experienced all of those fears, my greatest fear has always been fear of failure. Not the fear however of not meeting someone else’s imposed expectations of me, but fear of not meeting my own.
I have always been my own worst critic. I expect more from myself than I do from others. I feel as though I should be able to run with and explore every creative idea that comes to mind. In my heart of hearts I have always felt I was to live creatively and pursue an artistic element to my career. Over the years as this dream has not always played out as I planned, hoped or imagined I have at times become disillusioned. My disillusionment and disappointment stemmed from my perceived failure. My fear was an emotional response to a threat, even though in this case it most often only a perceived threat, it is enough to cause the paralysis that fear breeds. My fear of failure and therefore my perception of success often set me up to fail from the outset. So, how was I failing?
My only failure was that I allowed myself to define success by external achievements. I have concluded that the only defense is to redefine my definitions of failure and success. ‘Success’ needs to be the achievement of internal goals, such as staying true to myself. I have had to learn that staying true to me and who I am, is a bigger success than any monetary achievement or external accolade.
Fear can be debilitating if you allow it to be. I know, it has always been one my biggest barriers to stepping out and pursuing the creative goals in my life. For me the only solution and way of removing fears control is to continue to redefine the ‘threats’. Life is way too short to live trapped by fear. I want to live free and creatively. So, I will continue to challenge my fears so they don’t hold me back from all that I can be.
Look fear courageously in the face today…