Everyone faces fear. . . and in the right circumstances, uncomfortable as it may be, our fears exist for a reason.
For example, most of us would be (quite reasonably) afraid if a mother bear and her cub came sniffing around our campsite. Our fear of the mother bear will even dictate how we act around the cub when she’s not there.
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Other fears, however, are less reasonable. We learn irrational fears subconsciously from our parents, from our friends, or from society as a whole and then slowly cultivate them in our minds until they become barriers to our success.
It’s these kind of fears that we must try to overcome.
As an artist, what do you fear?
Dictionary.com defines fear as "A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined."
How many of your fears are in that "imaginary" category?
Many of us would say that we’d love to become either part-time or full-time professional artists while simultaneously allowing unreasonable, imaginary fears to dictate our lives and keep us from moving towards that goal.
For instance, we might choose not to take that business course or marketing class at our local college because we’re afraid of being out of our element.
We might turn down an offer to teach an after-school art class because we’re afraid we’re not good enough.
Or perhaps our fear keeps us pricing our art for far less than its worth because we’re afraid of being rejected.
How to overcome your fears
Eleanor Roosevelt said this about overcoming fear: "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."
I tend to agree with that. I’ve found that freedom from fear can only be found by understanding WHY you fear and then taking practical steps to confront your fears until they’re gone.
That’s why I started this series. It’s as much for my own understanding as anyone else’s—but I do hope it will help you wherever you are in your career as an artist.
So far I’m planning on posting four articles covering the following topics: