So, this post is dedicated to a supporter and friend of the blog, Katharine Gibson Stickevers. Katharine is a musician, a dancer, a Reiki specialist, a social media expert and a lot of other things. Yesterday, she reached out to me to congratulate me on the new blog, which I truly appreciated, and she mentioned that this blog was struck a chord since she feels like she’s not quite hitting her stride, professionally. Katharine’s a real talent. She’s an accomplished flute player, a good Tango dancer. She’s one of those people who gets things done, and yet, she feels like her business isn’t really taking off. Among other things, Katharine is self-aware, and she feels that fear and doubt is what’s gotten in the way. Man, do I know the feeling!
The odd thing is that unlike Katharine, I don’t think I realized how much fear played a role in keeping me back. I guess it’s hard to admit that you’re scared and even harder to see yourself as being crippled by that fear. For my part, I know I’ve seen hints of it. As a kid, I didn’t go out for team sports because I was always scared I’d let down my teammates if I missed a shot or fouled another player, so I stuck to solo sports like running and tennis. As a young adult, I was a violinist, but I didn’t come up with a real career plan; I just practiced and practiced and hoped for the best. Why? Because I was scared I’d fail. In my 30s, as I focused on writing, I did conquer my fears enough to submit to magazines, BUT it’s only recently that I would say I’ve pushed to get my writing out there in the public in any way I can. Why did
Fear of success? Yeah, there’s that, too. I like seeing myself as an underdog, and if you succeed, then you don’t have the impetus that fearing failure gives you.
There’s probably a good dose of laziness mixed in, which I guess is a fear of hard work.
But here’s another fear, and I think I just discovered it: the fear of limits.
If you’re an artist, it seems there is this sense of comparison that can take hold. So-and-so has X success, and she’s only 25. A guy you went to music school is now on tour with X-famous artist. It’s hard. Especially as you get older, especially as you hit 40–40, for some reason is like a threshold. There are comedians who make jokes about this: if you haven’t hit your mark and you’re 40, it’s time to pack it up.
So where does this all go? I have no idea, honestly. I only know this: at some point, you get over this competition stuff. Everyone says it: everyone says that you just need to compete with yourself. I’ve heard that for years, but it never took hold. And then, it did. I can honestly say that though I have my doubts, in the end, I’m just trying to put my head down and make some things, and hopefully, along the way, someone will like one of those things enough that she will pay me for it and then tell some other people to do the same.
If you feel like your fears are holding you back, which fear do you think it is? Something I mentioned here? OR, something completely particular to you? Let me know.