When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. ~ Audre Lorde
Last year I took on one of the biggest, scariest, projects of my freelance career so far. From first contact to completion, I was over here on this MacBook shook okay. Now, I know my fear was irrational at the end of the day, but that didn’t make me feel any less scared. That was over a year ago, and since then I’ve taken on new and challenging things, but nothing quite as scary as that. Interestingly enough though, I find myself in that familiar space once again. Where I’m being challenged to do something that is completely out of my comfort zone and yes, scary. To give myself a pep talk I thought back onto this project and reflected on how I overcame my fear. To remind myself–and you–what happens when you do it afraid.
You don’t stop being afraid, you push through.
There is nothing wrong with being scared. I think sometimes we’re so quick to slap a negative connotation to fear and dismiss it. It’s okay to be nervous. It’s just not okay to let that fear or nervousness control you. You can push through even with the fear. That’s essential to know. That fear doesn’t stop you from being able to do something unless you let it.
You acknowledge the “imposter” but you know the real
For this particular instance and many other instances, my fear was rooted in feeling like I wasn’t good enough or doubting myself. Like who I am to do this? Especially with the fact that I created this career for myself, literally, there was no straight path. I’m calling myself something because that’s what I do but somewhere I was seeking that validation. Imposter syndrome is real. But, you gotta let that go. If you were asked, hired, contacted, sought out, approved to do something, it’s because you can. You’ve shown that much or else you would have gotten the polite “No thank you, I’m fine.” You’ll probably always feel like an imposter. I feel like an imposter adult and I’ve technically been doing this thing for 12 years and I’m responsible for three humans so I mean…if that doesn’t tell you something than I don’t know what does!
Get real with the worst case scenario
“But did you die?” Hangover voice. I know it sounds crazy but during the course of this project, when I felt like I literally wasn’t going to make it I looked at the worse case scenario. I’d submit my work and they wouldn’t like it. That was it. There was nothing after that. Sometimes you just have to look your fear straight in the eye, and when you do you realize, it isn’t even that scary after all.
You rest on the knowledge that YOU HAVE THE TOOLS.
If there is one thing that I’ve come to realize as a freelance creative it’s that, my creativity truly is limitless. If something is brought to me, if I envision something, if I think of something, I have the tools to make it happen. And so do you. Rest on that truth when you’re feeling afraid. Rest on the knowledge you are absolutely capable of handling this thing.
Use your power and do it afraid. ~xoxo
Every Sunday I share a letter from my journey with those on my email list. WELL SPENT is part things I’ve come across that inspire me, things I think might resonate with you, and a lesson from the journey.