Somewhere in my mid-thirties, the fear of not doing something became greater than the fear of doing something. I was ready to jump in feet first not carrying to ever look back.
This fear reached its peak when I quit my job at an arts organization to work for myself. While I didn’t have a business plan, I did have 900 ideas about creative projects and services that I wanted to manifest. When I quit, I felt like I had to plunge into the mystery or risk never starting.
It has been a messy year and a half of making quilts and weavings; writing stories, a seasonal newsletter and blog posts; painting watercolors, cards, and ornaments; and running a woodland cottage rental among a few other things. I am so practiced at not using fear to keep me from doing something, that I keep doing everything!
Recently, I am trying to focus my efforts with purpose and intention. Hopefully by giving my creative outputs some direction, I will be able to develop a more useful and beneficial business. Here’s the catch. . .
Now my fear is popping up again. Now that I have real strategy and plans, I have more at stake. Now, I am constantly afraid that I won’t succeed. I am afraid that I am not good enough - that I am not relevant - that I am selfish in designing a business and life around my deepest joys. Listen to that! I am afraid of designing a life around my own joy--like I don’t deserve it. I am not worth my own joy! Calling any therapist to help me out with that one!
At this point, I am used to having fear around. I have made fear my sidekick and maybe that means that fear and I ride together into a sunset of business failure. Then so be it. At least, I will have tried. And for me the fear of not doing something is still greater than business ruin.
Afterall, if I was to hold all of this creative energy in, I’d be one ugly monster of a human.
In the past, my misplaced creativity manifested in being a not-so-pleasant or present Mom, shopping for the sake of shopping, and feeling small and judgemental of others.
So, maybe if I keep chugging with fear at my side, jumping into new projects (hopefully with a little more focus than before) something will happen. Hopefully, I will make something useful and purposeful for you.
What happens when you misplace your creativity? What are you afraid of?
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.