Season 2 – epiBLOG 14:

OCTOBER THEME – “FEAR”

What better way to pay tribute to the month that celebrates Halloween than to have this month’s theme be “Fear?” There are so many different phobias in the world, that there is no way to cover them all within the next 4 blogs. However, we can explore a few and hopefully you’ll be given a different perspective on each week’s topic. Of course, I have to make sure that everything I discuss somehow relates to the progress of the career of artists.

A huge fear for many people is the fear of failure. I’m going to allow myself to be vulnerable here and say that this has definitely been an ongoing fear of mine. I don’t let it stop me from moving forward or from taking action, but it’s a small voice in the deepest and darkest corners of my mind whose only purpose seems to be to annoy me. We’ll get back to this momentarily…

It’s my understanding that the distant cousin of the “fear of failure” is the “fear of success.” Fear of success oftentimes puts up roadblocks from getting people to where they want to be just as well. Fear of success has definitely never been my problem, but I suppose I understand the reasons behind it, as I have observed and studied the fear of failure. My understanding is that those who experience the fear of success may subconsciously feel like they don’t want the social, political, or financial responsibility that comes along with success, or would simply rather not be the one who is constantly setting an example for others.

Nevertheless, today’s blog will discuss the fear of failure. Actively working artists are entrepreneurs even though some of us don’t want to be referred to as such because of some misconception that entrepreneurs are all suits who sit in boring offices all day. However, if you’re the creator of your art (the product) and you pursue methods to generate profit off of what you do (free enterprise), you’re an entrepreneur. We are all business professionals and actively working artists. The artist side of us creates and feeds off of this ability to create. Likewise, we are business professionals that must figure out a way to make a living doing what we love. I admit, not every artist has an entrepreneurial spirit. The great thing is, if that’s you, you can team up with someone who does have this spirit to help you with that missing link, or you may simply be content creating art as a hobby. If so, that’s awesome as well.

I believe fear of failure with me began because failure goes against everything that I believe in. My belief is that if you work smart and/or hard enough, surrounding yourself with successful people, taking the necessary steps internally and externally to achieve short term goals along the way, that you will achieve your bigger goals and/or ultimate goal. When anything outside of that belief occurs in real life, it scares me because I don’t know how to operate in life with any other belief.

I’ve had my share of successes in life. I’ve won awards and/or medals in everything that I’ve endeavored. This would include Track & Field, Basketball, Writing, Producing, Directing, and Teaching. However, my desire to experience success on a much grander level drives me each and every day, but it also scares me at times because I think, “What if I do all of this work, and it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to?”

What keeps me going in the face of rejection, adversity… and of course, fear itself? It’s the powerful and overwhelming belief that I will achieve my goals no matter what the cost. In order to feed this belief so that it stays alive and gets stronger, I have 5 actions that I do 5 days a week that move me closer to achieving my ultimate goal. Actively pursuing a goal moves you closer to achieving it. It sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised at how many people pray, meditate, or talk about a dream, and never actually go out to do anything about it. Praying, meditating, and/or discussing your dream with likeminded individuals is conducive to your success, but they are only a part of what helps you to get to where you want to be.

I also have a business coach that I speak with once a week to bounce ideas off of, to receive insight and advice from, and to strategize with. I also have a great Mastermind Group. For those of you who aren’t familiar with such a thing, it’s a group of about 4-6 people who meet either once a week or once every 2 weeks via phone, video conferencing, or in person to discuss each other’s successes and to share ideas in areas within our lives (business or personal) where we seek improvement. It’s about an hour long commitment in a very timed and organized fashion to ensure that everyone is getting something out of it, as well as giving towards the group so that everyone wins. Lastly, I also have an accountability partner. Each night we email each other our 5 or more actions that we completed for the day, as well as the ones we intend to complete for the next day. This holds us accountable and we’re actually moving forward to reaching our goals – one day at a time.

One activity that I’ve done within the past week under the advice of my business coach is to figure out my top 5 core values. At first I wasn’t sure how this would help me to move forward, but what I realized is that knowing and understanding those core values helps me to understand myself a lot better. It even helps me to make more effective business decisions because I know what lines up with who I am. It decreases the times that I second-guess myself and moves me to a level of just “knowing.” My core values in this exact order are: (1) Achievement, (2) Love, (3) Authenticity, (4) Meaningful Work, and (5) Balance.

So, as much as the annoying voice of fear of failure echoes in the back of my mind, I continue to feed the belief that I can be successful. Feeding the belief strengthens it, and keeps me going even when some days are discouraging. After all, some days are more positive than others. Some days are easier than others. I just have to believe that everything I’m doing means something.

Today’s LESSON is to feed your dreams and beliefs so that they can become your reality.

FUN ASSIGNMENT: (1) Write down a list of 20 core values that are important to you. This could be honesty, loyalty, etc. Google “core values” so that you can have a visual list in front of you to really think about what words speak to you. (2) After you decide upon 20, choose the top 5 that are nearest to your heart in which you would never compromise on. (3) Place those 5 in order of importance, beginning with your top core value being at number one.

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