Playing with fire
Fear is like fire.
Controlled, fire and fear can be tremendously beneficial. Fear can help motivate you to work harder. Prod you to keep trying to come up with just one more idea. And it can push you to try new things.
Uncontrolled, it’s destructive — a self saboteur’s greatest weapon.
Fear and creativity.
As a creative, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let fear get out of control and allowed self-doubt, self-criticism and indecision ruin the chance to do good work.
Putting it into perspective, I don’t rush into burning buildings to save lives. Or deal with the tremendous weight of life-and-death decisions borne by those working in the ER, law enforcement or on the front lines. In advertising, facing fears isn’t facing life or death.
But it is failure or success.
Which is why over the years, I’ve come to realize that learning how to play with fire without getting burned is one of the most important skills a creative needs to master.
And the only way I’ve learned how to get better at managing or controlling fear is through experience. Every failure, I learn something about myself or business or other people or writing or life in general. Every success, I learn a little something more. Little by little, by living and doing, I’ve become better and better at using or ignoring fear.
I think RuPaul says it best:
“I have one thing to say ⎯ you better work.”
If you’re facing the fear of failure.
The fear of mediocrity.
The fear of not being able to come up with a good idea.
The fear of your best being not good enough.
The fear of being too old or too inexperienced or too this or too that.
Work it girl.
Because the only thing that reliably works when facing fear is working through it. Doing something. Making something. Trying something new. Thinking. Moving. Building. Creating. Sometimes you’ll fail. Sometimes you’ll aim high and hit it. But every time you face your fears, you’ll get stronger, more resilient and more resistant to the self-eroding, self-defeating effects of fear.
You’re a superstar. Now do your thing.