I have kind of a big thing coming up in ten days and I’m terrified. I’ve been asked to participate on a panel at the Kajabi Impact Summit in Southern California. The good news is that since it’s a panel discussion, it’s not all about me, which is a huge relief. The bad news is that it’s in front of about a thousand people!
Briefly, Kajabi is an all-in-one business platform that houses my monthly membership, The Pattern Design Club, and my online courses including The Pattern Design Academy. I’ve been able to create, market and monetize all of the different aspects of my business using this incredibly flexible and easy to use platform. And that’s saying a lot because I don’t consider myself very tech savvy.
Fear. Let’s talk about fear. As I prepare to deal with my own fear, I thought I’d offer some techniques to consider when facing something that scares you. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. You may be excited to explore your creativity but you’re anxious because you haven’t picked up a pencil or a paint brush in ages. You may have your heart set on learning how to make your own fabric designs but you’re fearful of learning Adobe Illustrator and don’t think you have the tech smarts to learn it. I hear: “I’m not very tech savvy” a lot and, as I said earlier, I don’t consider myself very tech savvy either! Overcoming our fear of the technology, specifically, is a topic worthy of a blog post all by itself. Tune in next week and I’ll share specific techniques on that!
Sometimes fear is a good thing. Your body or your mind is sending you a signal that what you are about to do is dangerous. Back in our cave person days, we needed that reflex to survive. Today, however, fear can hold us back from achieving our dreams. I also hear: “I’m not confident in my skills. As soon as I feel more confident, I’ll move forward”. I believe that making a commitment to your dreams comes BEFORE you gain the confidence you seek. And not the other way around. And fear is what’s holding you back.
Here’s how I’d like you to think about moving through fear. Try these techniques which I hope will help you tame it.
#1 Just Start
I’m willing to bet that you have tons to offer in whatever situation you’re facing that makes you afraid. You might think that you aren’t creative. Many people think they can’t draw. These ideas may scare you but I implore you to try them anyway. Take stock of previous experiences you’ve had that might help. Remember the first time you learned to ride your bike. You probably had that queasy feeling in your stomach but you did it anyway. Once you get past the first time, it gets easier and easier. It may not go perfectly. Most things don’t work out perfectly but what’s the worst that can happen? Ask yourself, how is this going to make you feel after you’ve accomplished it. As my friend Bonnie Christine likes to say: “It only takes a few seconds of courage to start.”
#2 Build Slowly
Break whatever goal or task you are struggling with into small increments. Don’t try to go from 0 to 60 in one shot. By the way, I’m not sure why people think it’s so cool that your car can go from zero to sixty miles per hour super quickly. What’s up with that? My point, using the bike example again, is that once you learned to ride, you continued to build on those skills a little bit at a time. You started with the training wheels and then took them off. Then you graduated to riding without holding onto the handlebars: “Look Mom! No hands!” Approaching whatever you fear in this manner, by tackling it a little bit at a time, gets you to your big goal slowly but steadily and with a lot less trauma. In your creative journey, practice and learning new things is part of the fun.
#3 Make Mistakes
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. In most cases, it’s not catastrophic and frequently you learn more from your mistakes than when things are going along smoothly. You probably fell off your bike several times in the early days and got scratched up. Maybe you even broke your arm at some point. But you got back on the bike and continued to enjoy the freedom that it gave you to leave your parent’s house, to go hang out with your friends, and to feel the breeze running through your hair. The more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll learn and the faster you’ll get better. Each mistake is a learning experience. And all of that practice is super beneficial in building your confidence.
#4 Embrace Change
Change is inevitable. It feels like the world around us is changing faster now than ever before. However, if you think about changes that have occurred in the past, like the advent of electricity, some of today’s changes don’t seem that revolutionary. Yes, it’s amazing to have a computer in your pocket in the form of your smartphone. But that pales in comparison, some might say, to experiencing the change from living in the dark from sunset to dawn. When, all of a sudden, you could turn some lights on, that must have felt extraordinary. Some things are also getting a whole lot easier with the advent of new technology. I’ll circle back to this next week when we dive into conquering our fear of the tech.
#5 Be Yourself
Through it all, the most important piece of advice I have is to be yourself. I listened to a podcast last night by Oprah Winfrey called: Your Own Truth. In it she keeps saying, over and over again, in slightly different ways, that staying true to yourself is the most important tenet to live by. In relation to managing fear, listen to your own voice from within and follow what you know to be true for yourself. This will help you find the right path through fear. You won’t take that crazy bungee jump over the canyon in New Zealand. You will, however, get started on the creative journey you seek. You’ll learn slowly and steadily. You’ll make mistakes along the way and even change directions. It’s all good. And being yourself throughout will always keep you grounded.
If you’d like to meet me in person, come to Kajabi’s Impact Summit on April 5-7, 2019 in Irvine, California. I’ll be on stage on Saturday night at 5:30pm. Wish me luck and I hope to see you there.
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.