I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’m taking an e-class with Tara about breaking through and telling my own story. Last week, part of our assignment was to list our fears, what we think might be holding us back. Coupled with Tara’s post about fear over on Scoutie Girl, the idea of fear has been on my mind the last few days.
My first instinct is to say I don’t have any fears to break through when telling my story like others do. That what I need is not necessarily a life cheerleader (though those are nice!), but a life editor to help me focus all my dreams and goals into one cohesive journey. But after reading Tara’s post about fear, I realized that’s not true.
My fear is not the fear of failure. It’s there, but I’ve failed at things before, so that particular fear is pretty tiny and easily ignored. That surprises me since I don’t have a solid Plan B if I walk away from Catie’s Blue today or tomorrow; I’ve put the last three years of my life into this business, spending waking moments working working working, and sleeping moments dreaming of new projects (true story – my entire Drop of Color series came from a dream). Do I want to succeed? Absolutely! But the fear of failure doesn’t hold me back.
No, my fear is of not living up to my potential and finding out that I’m not as good as I think I am.
My fear has led to me reading any crafty business post I can find, obsessing over techniques and how I can make them my own, straining to figure out how to be more financially sound, hurrying to find my place in a big artsy world. I think these manifestations are easy to understand (and something I think most small crafty business owners can relate to), but why am I so fixated on being good enough or better? Am I still looking for approval from peers, friends, family? I feel like I’ve been successful so far, but is that not enough? Truthfully, no. After I thought about it all weekend, I realized, that no, it’s not enough.
Before you think I’m incredibly arrogant or ungrateful, let me explain. I do feel grateful for every single order, every. single. one. But I have some pretty big dreams, and haven’t yet crossed off enough on my goal list. There’s still more to learn! There’s still more I can do. I can feel it, living inside me. I can’t ignore it because it has a really loud voice (and, strangely, sounds like every single person in my life who has had an influence on me, all at the same time). I think I’m always going to be looking for ways to improve, things I can do better, ways to grow. I don’t know that I can ever just settle, and I think that’s okay. I can be grateful and hungry at the same time, can’t I?
I’ve mentioned goals before, so let me add one more that I’ve had since last fall, something I haven’t shared with anyone yet: I want to write an ebook on color to help visual artists, but my fear has me thinking I might not be good enough to do it. Would anyone want to read it? What if it’s not as helpful as I think? This on top of worries like: Do sales equal validity? If I sell more, will I be more respected, more appealing as a jewelry designer? Will people like what I’m creating, or have I not yet gotten my story across?
I don’t have any concrete answers to those questions, just faith, gratitude, and a determination in spite of my fear. I’m going to own it, and name him Marco. As scary as it is for me to acknowledge Marco, and to share him here on my blog, I think it’s necessary to respect him as valid. The trick is not let his voice take over my brain and drown out my own.
Photos are from the amazing Lori Koop. Visit her site, www.lorikoop.com, for more information, or to sign up for her UpWords Newsletter.