There’s a reason I only recently started putting my words out there. It’s called fear. You might be familiar with it.
Fear stole me of any pride I had in my ideas. Of any courage I built up to be creative. It was the voice, forever beside me, that would whisper in my ear the moment I decided to try something new.
“It’s a waste of time,” my fear would slur. “Nobody’s going to care. There are so many people already doing it, what makes you any different? You’re not special. You’re going to embarrass yourself. You’re going to fail.”
In short, it stole my creativity.
See, that’s the thing about fear. It cripples and consumes you and determines the outcome of your life for you.
So much has been written about fear. George R. R. Martin described it as “cutting deeper than swords”. Aristotle said that “those who overcome their fears will truly be free”. But no words speak to me quite as much as Elizabeth Gilbert’s from her incredible book Big Magic.
“Tell your fear that it can come along for the ride, but it’s not in the driver’s seat any more. Because if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting. And that would be a pity, because your life is short and you want to be able to do really interesting things and make interesting things while you’re still here. The clock is ticking and we simply do not have time to think so small.”
These words changed my mindset forever.
Because here’s the thing: When it comes to creativity, fear isn’t there to scare you. Fear is there to let you know that something is worth doing.
So many of us self-doubt and over-analyse and let fear determine our fate.
But if only you could see that all of your limitations are self-imposed and chosen out of fear. If only you could see how beautiful your ideas and goals and aspirations truly are. If only you could see the potential that lies before you.
This life, the one you’re spending scared, overthinking and denying your potential, is IT. You have no other lives. It’s this or game over.
That’s why you have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Look that motherf*cker in the face and tell it: No. More.
Make the decision that your life is going to be driven by creative fulfilment over fear.
It’s never too late.
You can’t make your fears disappear in an instant. I mean, you’re a rational human being. But you can build your creative courage in baby steps. Make the commitment to yourself that you’re going to step up in life. Visualise something small that you haven’t always felt brave enough to do, and achieve it. Then try something a little bigger.
Challenge yourself to stop listening to imaginary critics. To love and explore yourself. To write that post, tell that story, paint that picture, sing that song, share that secret.
And when you’re feeling gradually more confident in your choices?
Think about the one thing you’d love to try this year.
Visualise it. Write it down. And then tell fear you’re ready. You’re ready and your time is now. You’re breaking free from its clutches. No matter how big a task it may seem or how scared you may be.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
When it comes to reflecting on your life, your future self will thank you for it. Because there’s nothing scarier than regret.