Yesterday I had the most amazing question pop up in my inbox that I have a feeling everyone can relate to. It was truly profound in its simplicity yet deep in its complexity. I paused on it for a long moment as I took it in, knowing the answer needed to be explored, communicated and shared.
How do I get past my fear of taking the next step in my business as an artist without feeling like I’m going to literally fall apart and die? I want to create a new scenario for my art and my life, and I see how it could unfold as I write this. But the fear I’m feeling makes me want to shut it down, turn away, so I don’t have to feel like I’m in agony any more. What is your insight on this? I feel like an addict who is addicted to old behavior and I want to break the habit, now.
This question touches my heart deeply, as Marla is speaking to so many of us (dare I say all of us?) when it comes to fear. Fear of the unknown is one of the most charged concepts for the entire human race, and fear around money, which is so deeply ingrained in our social consciousness on a global scale, is in the top four categories of the most stressful fears to deal with.
Yet there are two sides to fear when it comes up for us that if we keep in mind can truly help us nip it in the bud:
1. Whatever we fear owns us. As long as we hold onto fear over a particular concept or action, it has the ability to take over our entire being.
2. Fear is our greatest teacher. Once we know what we are afraid of, we can use it as a map to guide us to what we need to learn in that moment.
Knowing that, let’s look at this particular kind of fear that Marla brings up so we can break it down and make it less daunting.
Fear is a natural chemical reaction our brain produces to warn us we may be stepping into something we don’t have the knowledge or know-how to take on. It can be paralyzing on a physical, emotional or biological level, and feel as uncomfortable as sitting on a bed of nails. It is meant to feel this way, as it serves as a guide for us to pause and take note of what we may need to seek help with, or to check in with ourselves to find that we already have the answers we need. Either way, it requires us to consider what we are presented with and make an informed decision about.
Money is a concept that is deep-rooted in our consciousness on a global scale. We literally cannot go one day without dealing with the exchange of value that money represents, no matter where we go or whom we are with in the world. This makes the idea of money an extremely charged concept that can bring up intense anxiety when we think we might have a problem around it.
Business requires us to look at how we deal with our money, both conceptually and literally. It requires us to confront our relationship to our money in a way that is more black and white than any other aspect of our lives as artists. There is no way around the fact that your business is a numbers game, and the way in which you handle those numbers determines how powerful you become around the size to which it grows.
So to answer Marla’s question, your fear is meant to make you feel uncomfortable because it is serving as your guide to make you look at a specific issue in your life that you need to better understand in order to make the next move you want to make, in this case around building your business as an artist.
In other words, the fear you feel around the concept of your business may simply be telling you that you need to learn new skills and tools in order to move to the next step. Trying to by-pass those steps is most likely what is causing you anxiety over whether or not you can do it.
Here’s the good news: you absolutely can do it. You may just have to take a moment to learn some new skills around the concepts of how to run your business. This can feel frustrating at first, as it may take time: time to figure out what you need to learn, who and where you can find the resources to teach you and how to implement your new skills for the first time. But imagine how easy it becomes after that first time, like riding a bike.
The beauty of running your own business is the repetition involved in honing the skills you need to thrive. This is similar to working on your craft as an artist: finding the combination of techniques that work best for you and putting them into practice, over and over again.
Giving yourself the time to learn these new skills, Marla, is exactly what will allow you to step away from your old behavior by giving you the confidence to step into new behaviors that truly serve and inspire you to grow, personally and professionally, with your art.
What is one obstacle you are facing right now in building your business that you are feeling fear around? List it in the comments below, and let us help you move through it and past it with new, inspired wisdom.