Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Fear of Creative Success

Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed by my lack of creative output. I'm not sure if it's because of exhaustion due to my day job, or if it stems from an even deeper level. I know what I am capable of. But do I, really? Is my lack of production simply out of fear of what might come of it? What if I create something that the world absolutely adores? What if it changes people's lives for the better? What if it doesn't? What if it's a total flop, and I just wasted precious hours on something that didn't even make an impact? But what if it did? Will I then have to own up to the creative power and responsibility required to maintain credibility? What if I'm a one-hit wonder? What if I'm just not knowledgable enough in my area of expertise? Who am I to even be the expert? Where is all this self doubt even coming from? Who am I even comparing myself to?

The truth is, there will always be someone better, more skilled, with more experience than us. And there will always be someone with less experience and skill than us. What drives me is not competition, but rather a deep knowing that I, too, am capable of such great things. But the problem is, we quickly forget that even the greatest (and weakest) artists started somewhere. Whether they are impactful or not, they started. The feared not of their abilities, but embraced them. They saw something in themselves that couldn't not be shared with the world. Whatever their message, the drive to see it through overpowered the debilitating thoughts of shame and scarcity.

As I open myself up to the possibility of a creativity-filled existence, I will pay close attention to how it makes me feel. If I'm scared, it's probably the right decision.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt